Monday, November 27, 2006

Time To Rewrite Those American History Textbooks

The entire debate over whether or not Iraq is embroiled in a civil war is, of course, an ultimately insignificant semantic exercise. But surely there's no logic to the Pentagon position on the question:
In spite of escalating violence, the spokesman for coalition forces in Iraq says that nation is not engaged in a civil war.

Major General William Caldwell says Iraq had violence at an "unacceptable level" last week. However, he says "there's a functioning, viable government entity that's in charge" and giving directions to Iraqi forces.
By this definition, the United States has never experienced a civil war, then, since Lincoln headed "a functioning, viable government entity" throughout his presidency. This will be news to the publishers of American history textbooks.

It's a convenient rhetorical strategy: When reality doesn't match your statements, change the meanings of words until you can claim you were right all along.

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