Estabrook: Call It What It Is

Carl Estabrook has a powerful, if disturbing, piece currently running at CounterPunch: Support our euphemism. An excerpt:

The “pro-troops” line echoes what is perhaps the most successful rhetorical strategy in modern politics, “pro-choice.” In each case attention is shifted away from a questionable action toward the actor, for whom sympathy is solicited. But everyone knows that “pro-troops” is an assertion of the legitimacy of the war, just as “pro-choice” is a contention that abortion is ethical. In neither case does the argument have to be made explicit. Both involve ending human life (obvious in the case of war, but rejected as a description of abortion by some of its defenders; others however admit that abortion ends human life but is nevertheless justified, and their position is closer to the “pro-troops” position).

There’s another similarity. Noting that many of the invading US troops cannot legally buy an alcoholic drink in the US, one commentator has spoken of Bush administration plans’ being carried out by “brutalized 19-year-olds.” (It’s true that the American sniper quoted last week as saying he killed a female civilian because “…the chick was in the way,” was a 28-year old Marine sergeant.) The presumed beneficiaries of pro-choice policies could also often be described that way. Most people considering abortion feel that they have little “choice” — the decision seems necessary in a society that doesn’t provide medical care, education, housing or income. In the same way “our troops” are often constrained by economic necessity. Nineteen-year-old Pfc. Jessica Lynch from West Virginia was celebrated throughout the media after her rescue; her father was quoted as saying, when he first heard that she had been captured, that she had enlisted only because there were no jobs for 19-year-olds, even at McDonald’s…

It’s a vicious society that offers abortion and enlistment as palliatives for poverty. To force people young and old into situations in which they have no choice but to stain their consciences with the deaths of others is a great crime, one that can’t be covered with euphemisms. The beginning of wisdom is often to call things by their right name.

One Response to “Estabrook: Call It What It Is”

  1. a_stupid_box Says:

    What a jackass. Just like every other political and media vulture, he’s drawing parallels between “the war” and his own chosen unrelated topic in order to sensationalize his viewpoint. This is akin to that piece about how Bush is like Hitler. Making comparisons is easy, explaining why something is bad WITHOUT making outrageous comparisons is the true mark of an informed writer. I don’t like Bush or the war, however, I still pick and choose what writings I support that agree with how I feel. I do NOT like this article.

    I’m not saying this because I don’t agree with his opinions or I don’t like his style or any of that BS. Truth be told (at the risk of sounding apathetic) I stay out of the pro-life/pro-choice arguments. I’m not of the required gender to have the proper insight into this issue. I’m saying this because, as the very same war supporters he’s decrying, he’s attaching his own message to this and trying to pass it off as “the truth”.

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