Calling a killer a killer
Today, as on so many days in the past, the murderers of the Iraqi people set about to blow a bunch of them to bits, and have succeeded. Sixty is today's number. The killers must be so very proud.
And here is the AP headline on the story. It begins with the word Insurgents.
The definition of the word "insurgents" is as follows: People who are fighting against the government in their own country. So, how is it that the media persists in calling them this? This is not merely a matter of nitpicky semantics, either; words have power and meaning, and the use of this one lends worldwide legitimacy to people who should have absolutely none. There is a perfectly good alternative available, too--"terrorists"--and the consistent refusal to use it is deplorable.
Yes, many of these attacks target police. But many of them target ordinary citizens. There is no question that these killers, whom I refuse to call "insurgents" because it is an insult to language and thought (and true insurgents, wherever they might be), are cold-blooded murderers. There is also very little question that many of them are not in their own country; many are foreigners.
My question is this: has there ever, in modern history (or even in ancient history), been an "insurgency" bent on indiscriminately murdering its own people in droves? I cannot think of one.
The closest historical precedent I can think of (and it is far from a perfect one) is Hitler's plan to take revenge on the German people as a whole after he knew the war was lost. If he and his Reich were to be destroyed, all Germans should go down with the ship, too. His motive seemed to be an indiscriminate and murderous nihilistic rage at the thwarting of his own desire for power over the people. That seems to be the motive here, too.
If the killers in Iraq had only targeted policemen, it would be bad enough, but at least it would be a strategic move, although a reprehensible one--a move against people who at least work for the government (or are planning to). But a marketplace, as in one of today's bombings? Or people walking on a street, or going to mosques, as has occurred in past bombings?
Was Timothy McVeigh ever called an "insurgent?" After all, he targeted government workers, didn't he? How come I don't recall the AP ever referring to him as such? And he actually fits the bill better than the Iraqi killers do--at least he was not a foreigner. He was targetting government workers in his own country--that is, innocent people who happened to work for the government.
The mass murderers of the Iraqi people (that's what I choose to call them) seem to be operating out of a desire to kill; a blood-lust, as it were. If the police station isn't available, a market will do just as well. Their target is only tangentially the government of Iraq; their true target is the people of Iraq, whom they cannot control. And, since Iraq is now a democracy, that makes sense, I guess--the government is the people of Iraq.
After each of these attacks, I feel a white-hot rage. If I--ordinarily a mild-mannered American woman, not knowing any of the victims personally--can feel this way, I can only imagine what the true victims, the Iraqi people, must feel.
One thing I keep hoping they feel, though, is courage. So far they have; and for this, they are the true heroes.