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Euphemism Watch

Paul McLeary, currently embedded in Iraq, breaks a stunning piece of news on his blog. The term "Concerned Local Citizens"? It’s gone! The U.S. military is now calling the CLCs "Sons of Iraq," or SOIs! I guess calling a gang of ex-insurgents by a name more appropriate for an old ladies’ neighborhood coffee klatch was just too cynical. Here’s Paul:

The CLCs–Concerned Local Citizens–are no longer. Just a week ago, people could keep the acronym off their lips. Everything revolved around the CLCs–using them to continue to build on the improved security in much of Iraq; getting them to work with the police; getting some of them on the police force; making sure they weren’t bringing heavy weapons to their checkpoint sites; synching up their goals to that of the government of Iraq. But now, no one is mentioning the CLCs. With the amazing speed of an acronym-happy military, I’ve found out that the new, hot-off-the-presses Iraqi-approved term is "Sons of Iraq." SOI for short. Seems that "Concerned Local Citizen" didn’t translate into Arabic so well, and the Iraqis didn’t like it. So now, when you mention armed groups of civilians manning checkpoints and doing the work that the Iraqi Police and Army either will not or can not do, be sure to call them the "Sons of Iraq."

I believe it was Martin Amis who said euphemism is moral cowardice. Think the Iraqi military and police force enjoy the implication that they’re not sons of their own country?

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