Talk about actual troops, not just 'boots'

Critics of President Obama have taken to challenging his use of language, such as his declining to use the term “Islamic terrorist” to refer to the enemy with whom we are at war.

Allow me to turn that semantic debate on its head. Why don’t the media, politicians and peanut-gallery observers stop using the term “boots on the ground” to describe what they really desire in prosecuting this war against terrorists.

House Speaker John Boehner today used the “boots” terminology to suggest he wants to send young Americans back onto the battlefield in Iraq and to deploy them to Syria.

“Somebody’s boots have to be on the ground,” Boehner said in a live interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We have some 3,000 boots on the ground today. Let’s not suggest that we don’t.”

The media have fallen into that trap as well, preferring to sanitize what’s really at stake. We aren’t talking about footwear, folks; we’re talking instead about the human feet that will fill it.

It reminds me a bit of how the media — and I’ll include the newspaper where I used to work, the Amarillo Globe-News — use the term “harvest” to describe the killing of wild animal by hunters.

If we’re going to suggest that we send young Americans back into battle, then say it: It is time to redeploy American men and women, return them to the fight, put these young Americans in harm’s way.

Boots on the ground? Give me a break.


One thought on “Talk about actual troops, not just 'boots'”

  1. When I was in the service, almost everyone was young. Old guys were in their thirties. Most of us were teenagers. We should not forget the makeup of these “boots.” They are still young men. Anyone who would blithely jeopardize these young men has not given it much thought. They probably don’t really have any cards in the game. Any commitment to deployment of our troops should be carefully considered.

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