Dirty knickers

‘Linguistic somersaults in an age of aggression and state terrorism’ is an excellent article in which the author lists commonly occuring instances of doublespeak used by governments and their media acolytes to sanitise and disguise the dirty knickers they do not wish the public to see.

Examples:

Birth pangs: Dead children and smashed infrastructure, brought about by the need to get at “root causes” as we try to bring into being political regimes that provide “stability.”

Collateral damage (or “we didn’t mean to”): Killings that are not deliberate as regards particular individuals, although highly probable as regards unknown parties in the vicinity of the target.

Detainee: A prisoner held by us; taken into custodial care for information and neutralization as combatant, but as in Guantanamo, provided water-boarding and a virtual tropical vacation resort (Rumsfeld); so we refused to allow the Red Cross in for fear that its positive reports might cause people to surrender and come just for the amenities.

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