Politicians love speaking in code, particularly when the use of direct language makes ’em look, oh, bloodthirsty.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said this week we need to “put more boots on the ground” in the war against the Islamic State.
Boots on the ground. There it is … yet again!
McConnell is a fine man, a dedicated public servant. I don’t believe he’s a war-mongering chicken hawk, but I wish he could instruct those around him — namely his fellow politicians — to stop speaking in code.
“Boots on the ground” has become the cliché du jour for politicians who lack the guts to say what they really mean. Which is that putting “boots on the ground” means we should “send young Americans into battle.”
I harken back to the protest chant from those who complained that “old men shouldn’t be sending young men into war.”
All this brave talk from politicians about boots seems to gloss over the human cost of fighting these conflicts. Yes, the young men and women who fly combat missions in high-speed, high-performance aircraft put themselves in harm’s way, too — but we don’t hear politicians refer to their deployment as “putting rear ends in cockpits.”
My wife and have toured the Vietnam Veterans National Memorial in Angel Fire, N.M. It features letters written from that battlefield by young men, many of whom died in defense of their country. We came out of the exhibit. My wife was in tears.
“Every politician who decides to send people to war needs to come here first,” she said.
Yes. They also need to stop using euphemisms to tell us what they really intend to do regarding matters that involve young Americans’ precious lives.