Last week, Cato published my paper “Doublespeak and the War on Terrorism.” Of course, this has not kept President Bush from using doublespeak.
In his televised address this week, Mr. Bush said that all members of the U.S. military are “volunteers.” Not so. We do not have the large-scale conscription of civilians, but we do have “stop-loss” orders from the White House, which means soldiers that have fulfilled the terms of their enlistment contracts may not leave military. The men and women who wanted to return to civilian life after serving their term of service are not “volunteers.” In military circles, the stop-loss order is known as the “backdoor draft.”
Fortunately, more people are calling attention to such misuse of language by government. Go here for a column by Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post. Go here for a column by Dick Meyer of CBS News.
We’ll never be able to stop the government from engaging in doublespeak because the government is constantly engaging in mischief. But if we’re vigilant about it, we can keep the government in check.