Home/Daniel Larison/Some Call It War, Others Call It “Kinetic Action”

Some Call It War, Others Call It “Kinetic Action”

When Mr. Bush begins to refer to “kinetic action” in the context of foreign policy when he means to say violence or use of force, the measurement on the Orwellometer is off the charts:

Bush said,“100,000 troops there in Pakistan is not the answer, it’s someone saying ‘Guess what?’ [i.e. `I know here he is’] and then the kinetic action begins.”


He [Bush] emphasized it is an ideological struggle. In the Cold War, he said, the truth won out. “This is a war where over time the truth will win, but there will be moments of kinetic action [i.e. military struggle]. Some you won’t see.” Like KSM. “And some you will see,” like “the Taliban’s attempted resurgence.”

I have heard some ridiculous euphemisms in my day, but calling wartime violence “kinetic action” (which simply means ‘moving action’) is about as creepy a dilution of language as any I have encountered.  Perhaps we can call torture “kinetic pressure” and refer to the bombardment of civilians as “kinetic dropping.” 

Speaking of the ideological struggle and Bush’s romp through Marxism-Leninism, is “kinetic action” what happens when the thesis and antithesis in the historical dialectic clash?  Is the ideological struggle one bing bundle of “kinetic action”?

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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