More On Language And Rhetoric
When it comes to language and rhetoric regarding the Iran crisis, it is instructive to look carefully at both sides. While earlier today in The Language of Limbo I shared a glimpse of our own language and rhetoric, adopted by acquiescence to Russia, let's peer into that of Iran.
Turn back the clock a few years and recall the proclamation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran would soon "wipe Israel off the map." When called on this, Ahmadinejad and his defenders - many of them right here in America - dismissed this as purely rhetorical. They said that what was meant was merely figuratively speaking, through the collapse of the Israeli government and not actually physically "wiping Israel from the map."
Curious then that Iran, in its 2004 Sacred Defense Week military parade in Tehran, the regime draped its ballistic missiles on public display with banners in Persian which read "Israel must be wiped off the map" and "We will crush America under our feet."
One side in this conflict means business. That would be the side training, funding and arming radical elements to kill Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan today. And the side which demonstrates its intent, beyond rhetoric, almost daily.
On the other side, our government remains convinced it can negotiate away a nuclear program which Iran has stated over and over and over again is non-negotiable. Our government hedges, sputters, and works overtime to modify language to perfection.
The unfortunate thing in all of this is that the Iranians are rather blunt and direct. A haunting yet refreshing bit of clarity and truth.
Our carefully and ably crafted wordsmithing is lost on the Iranians, who chuckle at us as too cute by half.
The intelligent counter to this is to argue that our language is crafted for broader consumption and employ beyond Iran. Most notably Russia and China. Unfortunately, both Russia and China are sided with Iran. And our government laps up their Mandarin and Cyrillic wordsmithing as it would desire they to ours.
Too cute by half. This serves as an assault on clarity. And the absence of clarity is the harbinger of conflict and never resolution unless through preemptive surrender.
Such is our path.
Language absent clarity serves no good nor supports any fruitful endeavor.