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     Scottish CND      Magazine

Nukespeak (1) - The Euphemism

Jonathan Rees

The language surrounding nuclear weapons is littered with deception to avoid the public understanding what they really are. Take this year's new city incinerator "Vigilant" this suggests maybe some sort of surveillance ship not something (God forbid) that is actually designed to kill people.

The euphemism is the pro bombers second most lethal weapon, after the sound bite. The language is littered with them. Take "Vanguard". This to me has connotations of knights with flowing pennants charging with full armour for a chivalrous joust or perhaps saving a damsel in distress. Or "Polaris" which suggests a nice romantic astronomer's holiday staring at the night sky. Or "Cruise" sounds like a jaunt round the Caribbean on the QE2. Or take "Strike". Strike for me suggests a slap with a hand, say, by a disciplinarian parent or a row in a divorce. What has this to do with incinerating 100 million people and leaving another hundred million to starve, blinded, burned under rubble and suffering from radiation sickness, all with state of the art equipment and the best scientists.

Of course all these euphemisms are absurd when examined, but the trouble is, with a monetarist political system, they aren't. They lurk like landmines in the sandpit of immature thinking, egged on by the war entertainment industry. But make no mistake: euphemisms are dangerous and the world should take note, our "final solution" may finally and truly come.

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     Scottish CND      Magazine