Sunday, May 09, 2004

"New Word Order" by Tom Engelhardt

Follow the floating signifier, no one knows where it will go... Bush's administration has refined the art of verbal misdirection (otherwise known as propaganda)... Engelhardt supplies us with a keyword/lexicon to understand how it is done!

"New Word Order"
Tom Engelhardt
Mother Jones


Bush administration officials have assumed that the globe's only superpower can simply insist on and define the reality it wants; and no one, whatever the objections, will have the brute power to redefine it. The world, however, is -- as they are discovering in Iraq -- a far more complex and recalcitrant place than they've cared to imagine.

With that in mind, let's consider a few of the key terms that both in government pronouncements and in media coverage of Iraq add up to the bubble language that stands between Americans and a reasonable perception of the world out there:

"Security firms": It's in the nature of human beings, when they take marginal activities and bring them into the mainstream to want to professionalize them and so upgrade their status. Once upon a time, there were scattered "soldiers of fortune" and "mercenaries" in our world, former soldiers or wannabe soldiers who, as in Southern Africa in the 1980s, sold themselves to any bidder and shouldered arms for various, largely right-wing regimes. Now, this seat-of-the-pants mercenary business has become a $100 billion dollar global operation (with the U.S. government as its largest employer) and you can search our press far and wide rarely coming across the terms "mercenary," "soldier of fortune," "hired guns," "rent-a-cops," or anything else that might bring us closer to the tawdry reality of what these so-called security companies are actually selling. The employees of these firms are in turn usually called "contractors" in our press -- which sounds like such an up-and-up, modest, business-like thing to be -- even when they're heavily armed and out in the field fighting Iraqis. Of course, the basic "gap" here lies in the very word "security." You simply can't have a more "secure" world in which such firms can freely make multimillions of dollars by hiring out to the highest -- and most powerful -- bidders.

Read the Entire Essay

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