The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda

By Edward S. Herman | Go to book overview

ONE The Semantics and Role of Terrorism

The New Semantics:
"Terrorism," "Totalitarianism," "Communism," "Security"

In his "Politics and the English Language", George Orwell pointed out that "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible," which, as he notes, creates a reaction analogous to "a cuttlefish squirting out ink." 1 One part of this ink is the use of "euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness [of language]..." This is nowhere better illustrated than in the evolving usage and reworking of words like "terrorism," "totalitarianism," "communism," and "security."


Terrorism and International Terrorism

"Terror," according to the dictionary definition, is "a mode of governing, or of opposing government, by intimidation." 2 The "problem" for western propaganda arises from the fact that the dictionary definition inconsiderately encompasses in the word "terrorist" Guatemala's Garcia or Chile's Pinochet, who clearly govern by the use of intimidation, but whose kindly ministrations in the interest of "stability" and "security" are best kept in the background. This calls for word adaptations that will exclude

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