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Tuesday, August 31, 2004
I, like most Americans.....
How long until this "downhome hokey" act wears thin & we all grow tired of the pretend illiteracy from the President? Shouldn't we expect the president to be very precisely spoken? Very clear? Very sophisticated with language?

Political Wire: In an interview with Time magazine, President Bush declared the war in Iraq a "catastrophic success."Sen. John Edwards responds in the Washington Post: "I, like most Americans, have no idea what that means."

Update 9/4/04: As you'll see from the comments I have been persuaded to dig a little deeper here. Turns out this isn't an example of "all hat & no cattle." I stand corrected. (I'm actually sitting...) I still agree w/ Edwards that most Americans have no idea what this means, but hey, here it is:
  • Guardian 3/20/03: "Catastrophic success: Amid their excitement at taking on a depleted and demoralised Iraqi army, US commanders are talking about sweeping triumphantly into Baghdad in a "catastrophic success". By catastrophe, they do not mean a disaster, because they are dismissing the idea of thousands of civilian casualties. Instead they are using a negative adjective - catastrophic - to emphasise the positive, in the way that anyone under 21 describes something that is "cool" as "wicked" "
  • New York Daily News 7/31/04: "The U.S. General who routed Saddam Hussein's army in three weeks warned before the invasion that a quick victory could lead to a "catastrophic success" because they were not prepared for postwar anarchy in Iraq."

Please also see the comments.

Posted at 6:14 PM by John.
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Blogger Alex said...
"Catastrophic success" is a phrase a strategic studies bunny whose name I forget came up with around the time of the war with Iraq's beginning to describe the situation where the effects of an unexpectedly total military victory overwhelm the benefits. (for example, the complete collapse of the Iraqi military brought about by Allied deep battle seriously undermined US/UK hopes for a rapid and favourable settlement)

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