More "Humpty Dumpty" talk from the Vice-President!
Drawing of Humpty Dumpty with Alice
Humpty Dumpty states:
`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'It was a great relief last week when Vice-President Dick Cheney last week let us know how well Americans were doing in the conflict.
`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master -- that's all.'
Photo of Vice-President Cheney on Larry King
"I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time," Cheney said. "The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."A few days later General Abizaid's testimony to Congress appeared to contradict Cheney.
"I believe there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago." As to the overall strength of the insurgency, Abizaid said it was "about the same" as six months ago.But the Vice-President is a master of the dictionary.
"We see good progress in both Iraq and Afghanistan...But we are realistic. And we know that great change is often accompanied with violence. We are not trying to paint a rosy picture," Abizaid said.
Told by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the committee’s senior Democrat, that his assessment directly contradicted Cheney, Abizaid said: "I don’t know that I would make any comment about that other than to say there’s a lot of work to be done...I gave you my opinion."
Another picture of Cheney
Cheney said he was not backing down from his remark. "If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period, the throes of a revolution," Cheney said in an interview with CNN.So I looked in the dictionary.
Picture of Dictionary
Cheney was right! There was the definition of "throes":
Main Entry: throeBut wait! What about the other word in the phrase? "Last"?
Etymology: Middle English thrawe, throwe, from Old English thrawu, thrEa threat, pang; akin to Old High German drawa threat
1 : PANG, SPASM (death throes) (throes of childbirth)
2 plural : a hard or painful struggle (the throes of revolutionary social change -- M. D. Geismar)
I found the definition of "last" as in "last throes":
Main Entry:Last throes would be #2, best I could tell. "...belonging to the final stage."
1 a : following all the rest
b : being the only remaining
2 a : belonging to the final stage (as of life) (his last hours on earth) b : administered to the seriously sick or dying (the last rites of the church)
3 a : next before the present : most recent (last week) (his last book was a failure) b : most up-to-date : LATEST (it's the last thing in fashion)
4 a : lowest in rank or standing; also : WORST b : farthest from a specified quality, attitude, or likelihood (would be the last person to fall for flattery)
5 a : CONCLUSIVE (there is no last answer to the problem) b : highest in degree : SUPREME, ULTIMATE c : DISTINCT, SEPARATE -- used as an intensive (ate every last piece of food)
But today we have Donald Rumsfeld, our Defense Secretary chiming in.
Photo of Secretary Rumsfeld on ABC's This Week
As was reported:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday he is bracing for even more violence in Iraq and acknowledged that the insurgency "could go on for any number of years."This just didn't sound right. 12 years couldn't really mean the last throes could it?
Defeating the insurgency may take as long as 12 years, he said, with Iraqi security forces, not U.S. and foreign troops, taking the lead and finishing the job.
But really, it was I who was confused. Dick Cheney was becoming adept at the George Orwell "Newspeak". As Orwell in 1984 stated:
"The very word 'war', therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist. ... War is Peace."Sort of "the insurgency is continuous so insurgency has ceased to exist".
Our leadership keeps us confused. They say one thing and mean another. They confuse war with peace. Clean air with pollution. Reform and destruction. They say our opponents are in their "last throes" then tell us it will take twelve years!
America deserves better!