Saturday, April 2, 2011

This is why it's so important to consider the words you're using...

Justin Raimondo recently published an article about Obama's Libyan war speech, and it contained two phrases that seemed so bizarre and troubling that I was forced to read them over a few times, just to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me.

I'm not going to be talking about the whole article - you can read it if you want to, and make up your own mind - I'll just precis it to offer some context: While American presidents say they only use war as a last resort, and those wars are only an exercise of moral authority, in reality America's wars are always attempts to gain economic or strategic advantage in important regions. (My thoughts on the matter: Well, duh. Where have you been the last two hundred years?)

I don't take issue with his reasoning or conclusions here, just the examples he uses to make his argument, and the specific wording contained therein. Here are the two paragraphs I'm referring to-

"Obama is an expert at crafting the plausible untruth: not since FDR lied us into war – and much else – in the 1930s have we seen such a master of duplicity in the Oval Office. Inserted into this ode to the military was, indeed, one outright lie: "Because of them and our dedicated diplomats, a coalition has been forged and countless lives have been saved."

The lives we "saved" are countless only because they don't exist: we intervened to prevent a holocaust that never happened – and there's no way of knowing (although plenty of reason to doubt) whether it would have happened without Western intervention."

So, overlooking his obvious logical flaw (you can't prevent something that's already happened), my problem is with his use of the term 'Holocaust', immediately following a reference to FDR lying America into war. The linked article is all about the evidence that FDR allowed Pearl Harbor to happen in order to convince the country to enter World War 2, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to write about. When it's paired with the phrase 'holocaust that never happened', however, a connection, whether intended or not, is created in the mind of the reader.

The word 'Holocaust' appears nowhere in Obama's speech. It's a word that inevitably calls to mind a single historical event, and it must have been chosen for a reason. Is it possible to read the term 'Holocaust never happened' in any context without flinching? Even if it was just being employed hyperbolically, with no other intent, any reader should be given pause to see it in this context.

I'm not accusing author Justin Raimondo of being a Holocaust Denier, I'm merely pointing out that by talking non-specifically about FDR's lies that led to war, and then following it up with a reference to a fake holocaust, an implied message is created.

A message that, if unintended, is amazingly unfortunate and deserving of an apology, and if purposeful, is downright despicable.

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