Thursday, August 04, 2005

Great moments in print journalism

I've complained about the popular misuse of the term "insurgent" in the past, so I would be remiss not to give kudos to my hometown paper, The Dallas Morning News, for this decision - may others follow their lead:

"Today, this editorial board resolves to sacrifice another word -- 'insurgent' -- on the altar of precise language. No longer will we refer to suicide bombers or anyone else in Iraq who targets and kills children and other innocent civilians as 'insurgents.' The notion that these murderers in any way are nobly rising up against a sitting government in a principled fight for freedom has become, on its face, absurd. They drove that point home with chilling clarity Wednesday in a poor Shiite neighborhood. As children crowded around U.S. soldiers handing out candy and toys in a gesture of good will, a bomb-laden SUV rolled up and exploded. These children were not collateral damage. They were targets. The SUV driver was no insurgent. He was a terrorist. People who set off bombs on London trains are not insurgents. We would never think of calling them anything other than what they are -- terrorists. Words have meanings. Whether too timid, sensitive or 'open-minded,' we've resisted drawing a direct line between homicidal bombers everywhere else in the world and the ones who blow up Iraqi civilians or behead aid workers. No more. To call them 'insurgents' insults every legitimate insurgency in modern history. They are terrorists."


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