February 13, 2007
|Reality Check From Chairman Of Joint Chiefs||Iran|
One of the ways we confuse ourselves is by carelessly using language that anthropomorphizes inanimate objects or institutions (see General Semantics). If weapons containing materials of Iranian manufacture are discovered in Iraq and people say "Iran is supplying weapons," suddenly it's the entire nation of Iran, or at least its government, that is the culprit. That's sloppy thinking. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs thinks so, too. AP:
A top U.S. general said Tuesday there was no evidence the Iranian government was supplying Iraqi insurgents with highly lethal roadside bombs, apparently contradicting claims by other U.S. military and administration officials.
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. forces hunting down militant networks that produced roadside bombs had arrested Iranians and that some of the material used in the devices were made in Iran.
"That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this," Pace told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. "What it does say is that things made in Iran are being used in Iraq to kill coalition soldiers." [Emphasis added]
It's a measure of how debased our public discourse has become that when someone in a responsible position manages to say something this level-headed and straight-forwardly rational, it comes as a big breath of fresh air, worthy of comment.