Yesterday in this space the subject was: Is the conflict in Iraq a “civil war” or just a “war”? In other words, should the conflict be described as what it really is (a brutal civil war) or as how the US government and its allies want it to be known (a war to create democracy)?

Politicians, of course, can be masterful in the Orwellian art of propaganda terminology. Just look at these recent examples of how to spin a situation:

“Very low food security”: How the US government now officially refers to people going hungry.

“Clearly a false narrative”: Alexander Downer responding to claims that DFAT staff were involved in the AWB scandal.

“Improve his capabilities”: What the US administration says it is now doing to help Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki get Iraq under control.

“Final marginal decision”: Kim Beazley on when his experience will really count with voters (ie. a federal election).

“Resource security”: Peter Costello, speaking before the G20 meeting, on how countries will meet their energy needs.

Politicians who hide behind weasel words might think they’re escaping scrutiny, but they’re actually flagging the fact that they’re hiding a propaganda-defying thing called “undeniable verifiable point of reality” (ie. the truth).

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey