From "insurgent" to "Al Qaeda in Iraq" to "Al Qaeda"
Talking Points Memo reader SM wrote to Josh Marshall to succinctly describe a linguistic shift that has been bugging me for a while:
It's a curious thing that, over the past 10 - 12 days, the news from Iraq refers to the combatants there as "al-Qaida" fighters. When did that happen?
Until a few days ago, the combatants in Iraq were "insurgents" or they were referred to as "Sunni" or "Shia'a" fighters in the Iraq Civil War. Suddenly, without evidence, without proof, without any semblance of fact, the US military command is referring to these combatants as "al-Qaida".
Welcome to the latest in Iraq propaganda.
Exactly, SM. I'm glad that I'm not the only one to notice.
A few months ago, it was routine for news accounts to use phrases like "an insurgent group that calls itself 'Al Qaeda in Iraq' to refer to the atrocities perpetrated by one of the many factions in Iraq's civil war.
It wasn't uncommon for these reports to include a caveat that this group had no concrete ties to the Al Qaeda of Osama Bin Laden that attacked the US on 9/11. In fact, sometimes there would be press conferences where government officials and terrorism "experts" would stress that Al Qaeda was more of an idea than an organization these days.
These days, news accounts just describe the opponents of U.S. troops in the latest onslaught as "Al Qaeda." Check Google News for dozens more examples.
Does anyone know whether the group known as "Al Qaeda in Iraq (TM)" is the primary target of the latest big push? I have a hard time believing that it's the only insurgent group operating in and around Baghdad these days. It's not as if the Shia Mahdi Army has begged off.