Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Power of Words

We all know the euphemisms used to shield us from the awfulness of war. Friendly fire is the classic example. Collateral damage is another popular with our leaders. These words are comfortably bland. They are words that remove our need to think about lives violently ended, about limbs blown off in explosions, or about the pain of been shot in the gut.

John Major has introduced a new phrase into the arsenal when discussing the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, and it's a belter.
"I rather prefer the expression shoot-to-protect rather than shoot-to-kill. I think that is a more accurate description of what happened."
Yes, the innocent Brazilian electrician was unfortunately subject to our new "shoot-to-protect" policy. This has led to a regretable incidence of collateral damage due to friendly fire. Nothing there to shock anyone. Nothing to put people off their cornflakes as they read the morning papers. Best not to think too hard about the innocent man with 7 bullets in his head...

No comments: