Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's the War on TerrorISM

Can Bryan Styble be the only newstalk radio host in America who recognizes the inherent semantic inaccuracy of the most-uttered phrase thus far of the 21st Century? I've been explaining on-air ad nauseam (to little discernible effect so far, even amongst my KIRO callers) that the War on Terror is a serious misnomer.

The verbal construction, popularized if not coined by our earnest yet fumble-tongued President, isn't merely grammatically imprecise, but also poorly connotes the very essence of the Islamic threat to the West. First notably engaged in at the Munich Olympiad in 1972 and nowadays represented by all manner of zealous acolytes of The Prophet, what we're aligned with our allies to resist and confront are the ruthless activities of human beings.

Because he is hardly the most articulate recent occupant of the White House, I suppose George Walker Bush can be forgiven in this regard (though his wonderfully glib Secretary of State should not be similarly cut such slack). But my colleagues have no excuse for endlessly parroting an incorrect mantra. Broadcasters are supposed to be, by definition, verbal wordsmiths who respect the integrity of the language.

This is nothing complex: tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes and tsunamis each routinely inspire massive amounts of terror, but terrorism is only committed by people. So if we're to continue honestly waging this so-called War on Terror, we should at least be comprehensive about the parties to whom we are pledged to defeat, and thusly add to our list of al-Qaeda et al. the name of G-d.

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