RANGER AGAINST WAR: The Mouse that Roared <

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Mouse that Roared

The New York Times recently reported that President Bush is considering negotiations on a "peace treaty" with North Korea.

I've consistently objected to the misuse of words by the news media and the government. It seems that words no longer have any fixed meaning, and their useage is often convoluted. Surely the NYT, and especially the state Department, know that you can't negotiate a peace treaty unless there is a state of belligerancy. Peace treaties end wars.

This feels like a tautology, but I'll risk it: words have to have meanings that are commonly agreed upon if we are to continue as a society which obeys rules and laws (i.e., words with meanings.) Iraq was invaded without an act of war, and there was no subsequent peace treaty. This invasion was an event that should have required a (1) declaration of war, and (2) consequent peace treaty, but neither occurred. So how can we suppose to be a nation of rule and law?

In an administration that is sorely lacking in combat experience, there seems to be a love of military terms, such as "war" and "peace negotiations". I am brought to mind of the combat chic ethos which reigns in fashion today. Cargo pockets, rip cords...you do not have to have served, to simply be a fellow traveller. And as Marcus Welby famously said in his white coat in a commercial while peddling an over-the-counter bromide, "I may not be a doctor, but I play one on t.v." It's like putting on a flight suit and landing on an aircraft carrier--you can almost imagine having been there.

It would be more appropriate and less provocative if words like "normalizing relations", or "accords" had been used in this context.

Possibly Castro should take a lead from Iran and North Korea and start developing a nuclear weapon. Then the U.S. might initiate a peace treaty with Cuba. It only seems fair, since we routinely give sweetheart deals to China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other less-than-democratic nations, yet continue to treat Castro like a pariah.

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