There’s an email circulating Internet about war entitled “Which War Are You Watching?—The View from Spain.” It appears to be from an individual. My version has it signed with “Un abrazo (a hug), Dwight.” (Dwight—if you exist-I give you credit.)
Talking about how Spanish media presented war, it is definitely a controversial piece, but what about war wasn’t? “Deeply divided” applied to US and many other countries, and as I talked with clients all over world during this time, we all learned about one another, and about multiculturalism
Doesn’t apply here. Whether or not this incident occurred, we’ll never know. If it didn’t, it should have.
One way we understand a culture is through its language. Here is an excerpt from this article, “The View from Spain”:
“In one particularly poignant moment on Spanish television, after a series of unrelenting images of children wounded and dead (far more graphic than would ever be allowed in US), we were shown a Pentagon spokesperson referring to understandable levels of ‘collateral damage.’
“The Spanish commentator simply looked directly into camera, shook his head sadly and mused: ‘One wonders what type of human being can refer to death of a child as “collateral damage.”’
I have no defense of this statement. I abhor language of US military as much as this person does. I agree with him. And I have no idea what to do about it.
What kind of human being would refer to death of a child as “collateral damage?”
The US military, that’s who. But not me, and maybe not you.
Intellectually I understand that if you’re going to send people out to kill other people, some of whom may be children, you have to use euphemisms.
A euphemism is “the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something.”
The military uses them. The military is also not “the US.”
HOW THEY TALK
I recall sitting in a board meeting being run by an ex-colonel during Desert Storm. Half of us were ex-military and half of us had never been near it – it was a social service agency, after all. That morning director, an ex-colonel, had what can only be described as a sanctimonious expression, and in a very in-group tone of voice, with excluding nonverbal behavior, announced that there had been “an incident of friendly fire.”