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Change your buzzwords!!!
Memo from: Karl Rove

cc: Cheney, Ashcroft, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Ridge, Mueller and Tenet (bcc: Hannity, Novak, Sinclair Broadcasting)
To All Concerned Parties: In light of recent events, I feel the need to clarify some of the language and "descriptive phraseology" we’ve been using in regard to the war on terrorism and our ongoing efforts in Iraq.

These are not to be interpreted as "non-negotiable edicts" (whose violation will result in your immediate reputation-tarnishing dismissal), but rather as "helpful suggestions."

Remember: The Patriot Act depends on you, acting patriotically.

So please update your lexicon of White House–approved media buzzwords immediately.

1) "Shock and Awe." Deleted. Archaic. Please resist the urge to describe the goings-on in the soon-to-be-renamed Abu Ghraib prison (see below) as "Shock and Flaw," "Shocking and Awful," etc., etc.

2) Abu Ghraib prison. Henceforth, this will be known as the "Khalil Gibran/Dale Earnhardt Jr. vocational-training facility and recreational center." As John Kerry himself has asked: "Who among us does not like NASCAR?"

3) "Mission Accomplished." Unoperative. And please avoid the alternate punctuation: "Mission accomplished?"

4) "Bringing peace, freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people." To better reflect our current goals, please substitute "Protecting the American homeland from vicious Al Qaeda terrorists."

5) Ahmad Chalabi is no longer "the legitimate voice of the Iraqi people." Please update your records to cite U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in this role, and avoid quoting his recent speech on French radio blaming the whole mess over there on "the Israeli policy of domination and the suffering imposed on the Palestinians."

6) "High moral ground." We’ve lost it. Lose it from your vocabulary.

7) "Connecting the dots." Inoperative.

8)"Shaking trees." Archaic. Arcane. Deleted.

9) "Former generals in Saddam’s vicious Baath ruling party." Post-Falluja, please refer to these gentlemen as "Dedicated civil servants and members of the previous administration, who now have reformed and joined the coalition." (Note: Please avoid using this in any paragraph with the words "bribes," "pay-offs," "failed policy," "questionable loyalty," "grasping at straws." Similarly:

10) "De-Baathification." Oops! Let’s try "re-Baathification."

11) "Body armor" and/or "Bolt-on Humvee armor kits." As both remain in short supply, these will now describe Secretary Rumsfeld’s suits (i.e.: "Nice bolt-on armor, Don. Wearing that while you read Dowd this morning?").

12) "Liberators." This remains the preferred terminology to describe our presence in Iraq, as opposed to "bungling, clueless superpower."

13) "Coalition of the willing." Even post-Madrid, this verbiage remains in effect. (Given Spain’s proximity to France, we were always slightly suspect of Spaniards anyway.) No matter how tempting—or truthful—please avoid all modifiers, such as "Coalition of the not-so-willing-anymore," "The gang of 17," or "Our partners in crime."

14) "Uprising," "Armed resistance," "Insurgent forces," "Organized anti-American factions." We no longer recognize or condone the use of these terms. In all cases, please substitute "Vicious Al Qaeda terrorists." Likewise:

15) "Syrian mercenaries," "Iranian guerrillas," "Radical Shiites," "Fundamentalist clerics," "Disgruntled Iraqi shopkeepers." For simplicity’s sake, these groups will now also be classified under the general category of "Vicious Al Qaeda terrorists."

16) "Weapons of mass destruction." Alas, we’d like to find a better phrase here; we haven’t as yet, but we remain hopeful. In the meantime, we’re still searching.

17) "American war criminals." Please substitute "Overzealous patriots."

18) "Independent contractors" remains our preferred appellation. "Mercenaries," "hired guns," "Halliburton employees" or "crazed good ol’ boys operating outside any known moral or legal authority" are not acceptable synonyms.

19) "Prisoners of war." Better to say "Guests of interest."

20) "War Crimes," "Atrocities," "Human-rights violations," "Torture," "Softening up prisoners for interrogation." The preferred description is "intelligence-gathering activities." But if pressed, use "Having a frank and honest chat with our ‘guests of interest.’"

21) "A world of hurt." Avoid. Please substitute "An unfortunate and unforeseeable blip on the road to success."

22) "Slam-dunk." Deleted.

23) "Chain of command." Obsolete.

24) "Swatting flies." Inoperative.

25) "Imminent threat." Banished.

26) "Boots on the ground." Expunged. (Alas, it seems that certain "independent contractors" mistook this to mean "boots on the prisoner’s head.")

27) "Quagmire." Forbidden, in any link to Vietnam.

28) "Quagmire." Acceptable, when used in reference to a) John Kerry trying to explain precisely what he did with his medals, and b) how he earned them. Remember the Karl Rove mantra: The best defense is to be really offensive.

29) "Don’t dipstick me." We like this rejoinder. Especially in response to press inquires as to "how things are going" in Iraq.

30) Presidential daily briefing. The P.D.B. will henceforth be known as "USA Today." If you get a chance, stop by to say hello to ace journalist Jack Kelley, who’s been brought in to edit it.

31) "Unknown unknowns." Now that we know what said "unknown unknowns" are (i.e., white trash gone wild in Abu Ghraib prison), this phrase will be dropped from our lexicon.

32) "It’s possible." As per use by Donald Rumsfeld: "Not a chance."

33) Enemies list. Let’s make it clear that we have no "enemies list." On the other hand, we do have lots of people we’re "not too fond of." (P.S.: Please tell me that no one left the missing file with Paul Krugman’s tax returns in a Georgetown Starbucks.)

35) Green security zone. New definition: American states where G.W.B. can still raise money.

36) Exit strategy. Inoperative. Obsolete. Archaic. Irrelevant.

37) "America is not what’s wrong with the world." Please avoid using this Rumsfeld- coined locution, as it will only beg some smartass columnist with The New York Observer to reply:

He’s right. It’s the people running America who are what’s wrong with the world.

You may reach Bruce Feirstein via email at:
By netchicken: posted on 14-5-2004

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