Yesterday, I was shocked to hear Morning Editions' reporter talking about the current military situation in Afghanistan using the phrase "an area infested with the Taliban".Hmm, and what's shocking about that?
The use of the word "infested" is extremely problematic because no matter what you think about the Taliban, they are human beings and the people who live in that area are human beings. When an area is "infested" with rats, it is okay to annihilate them. But when you use the language on humans, you are using words that are unacceptable and dangerous.I know this is obvious to most people, but when you are fighting enemies, you are trying to kill them. In other words, you are in fact attempting to annihilate them -- unless they surrender, a negotiated settlement is reached, or the war ends for some other reason. There is nothing "unacceptable and dangerous" about saying an area is infested with enemies, or even with specifically comparing them to rats, insects, or vermin of any type. The Taliban are very much like a type of vermin. The world, and Afghanistan itself would be far better off if the human beings who make up the Taliban were exterminated. That's one reason the U.S. is doing its best to kill as many of them as possible.
Dehumanizing other people is wrong even when they are our enemies and even when they do horrific acts. They are still human beings and thus part of our human family and when we forget this, it reflects badly on the state of our society and the state of our individual souls.
Nonsense. Dehumanizing the enemy is not only necessary, but desirable. Along with helping to overcome normal human inhibitions against killing other people, it may decrease the psychological trauma experienced by those doing the killing. And when we are talking about our military personnel, that's a good thing. Pretending that enemies are part of "our human family" is pseudo-mystical gibberish, that serves no purpose, other than to make it more difficult to do what is necessary in order to protect our interests.
This laughable whine at Pacific Views is yet another example of just how clueless many on the left are about military affairs. Aside from the obvious stupidity of her post, the author is apparently unaware that the term "infested" is commonly used to describe situations related to enemies, and has been for a long time. For example: we had to be alert, because the entire area was infested with snipers. Or, this province was infested with guerrillas. The NPR reporter was just using a standard description and no doubt meant nothing by it. But Mary at Pacific Views is apparently ever-alert for anything that she thinks sounds too harsh toward our enemies.