Saturday, December 24, 2011

Beware word inflation

A cyberacquaintance who is a Trot, along with her comrades, say I am a "pedant" and a "warmonger." Why? I made the mistake of asking why she posted on Facebook a picture of Bill and Hillary Clinton with Madeleine Albright at the funeral of Vaclav Havel with the comment: "how ugly  war criminals become."

War Criminals?

As Dr. Scalper remarked to me, former President Bill Clinton may be "a corporate ass-licker." His wife Hillary, current secretary of state, and Albright, who served under Clinton, may be something less than Mother Teresa on a good day.

But "war criminal" has a very specific meaning. There must be a war. There must be a crime. And the criminal must have committed it. Right? Right!

Those who bombed Dresden and Hanoi when there was no military justification can be accused: there was a war, a crime, and persons who committed it. They were not accused (because they were on the side of the "good guys"), but we can discuss it.

So I asked her what war crime are you referring to? The Lewinsky matter was surely  irregular (if fun), but not a war crime. From January 1993 to January 2001 when Clinton was president, the United States was not at war.

Or am I crazy?

She refused to explain. Three of her partisan gang began to rain links to opinion pieces full of generalities how ugly the world is, but about the alleged crime ... nothing much.

So what does she do? She says she's going to de-friend me, block me ... in short, virtually disappear me. Exactly the kind of left-wing fascism that killed her idol, Leon.

War crime should be prosecuted. Better yet would be not to have wars. But any chance of all that is destroyed when one calls politicians one dislikes "war criminal" just for so.


Anonymous said...

Good post! As I've heard before, "When I insist that language matters, I am not insisting on the satisfaction of the grammatical punctilios of schoolmarms, but on avoiding expressions that impede clear thinking."

Anonymous said...

Are you going to end the year with 59 posts??

Alan said...

Hopefully whatever differences that may still exist may be soon patched up. Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!