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Paul Redstone: Let’s call ‘drones’ what they really are

To the editor:

I was extremely pleased to discover that the City Council approved the resolutions critical of the various types of “drone” activity from surveillance to “extrajudicial killings” and beyond.

I have been struck by our easy use of the term “drone” as a word to cover a whole range of quite distressing and problematic government activity. The politics of word choice is very powerful and can be quite insidious causing a reduction of public response. I recall in the 1950s when increasingly powerful bombs — atomic and hydrogen — were being developed, the Pentagon word used to describe how many million human beings would be killed was “mega-deaths.” This word seemed to sanitize the horror and was designed surely to minimize public alarm.

In more recent times the term “extraordinary rendition” has some of the same effect of minimizing the gravity of the state behavior. Let’s refer to those actions as “state-sponsored international kidnapping and secret imprisonment.” So at this point I would rather people stop referring to “drones” and say “remote-controlled surveillance and assassination aircraft,” or some other better but true description of the device.

Perhaps then more people would become concerned.

Paul Redstone



Reader Forum: Should local City Councils make resolutions on national issues?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Some readers say a city’s top board should tackle issues beyond the traditional realm of municipal government.  Others, though, say the council should stick to close-to-home topics. Several recent resolutions voted on by the Northampton City Council prompted readers to write in. Read those letters below:  …

Legacy Comments1

Yes. Our government has become very adept at "Newspeak", in the naming of their wars and in the and the "euphemizing" of their illegal acts.

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