Commentary Magazine


Speaking of Desperate

From an editorial in today’s New York Times:

More American ground troops will have to be sent to Afghanistan. The Pentagon’s over-reliance on airstrikes – which have led to high levels of civilian casualties – has dangerously antagonized the Afghan population. This may require an accelerated timetable for shifting American forces from Iraq, where the security situation has grown somewhat less desperate. [Emphasis added.]

How the Times editorial staff must have agonized over those last nine words! Do we still call it a war? If so, we can’t say it’s going better and still say let’s quit, can we? Let’s go with “security situation.” That’s vague: perfect. Also, we can’t just come out and admit things have improved, can we? I know: “somewhat” improved. No, still too strong. Nothing can be better or positive, only less. Less, less . . . less what? I got it: “less desperate.” Right! “Somewhat less desperate.”

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