10 March 2014

John Kerry learns a new word (‘Pretext’)

Using words without knowing their meanings is not the preserve of US Secretary of State, John Kerry.  John Kerry, reflecting on Ukraine and Russia’s military moves, said in the NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ program: ‘you just don’t in the 21st Century behave in 19th Century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext’.  He elaborated in ‘Face the Nation’ thus: ‘Invasion is not the act of someone who is strong; it is the act of someone who is weak’.  People reflect and Kerry does too.  In a parallel universe Kerry thought about what he had said.  He wrote about it in his parallel diary. Here’s a copy, obtained from a parallel universe, let's say. 
 

It’s hard to kick bad habits but as Secretary of State if I can’t get the basics right about the things I say I should quit.  Just the other day I used a word that I didn’t know the meaning of.  Pretext. Worse, I used it along with the term ‘trumped up’.  Just before I said that, I used the term ‘phony pretext’.  Checked the meanings and found they basically mean the same thing.  That kind of verbal double can negate the assertion. Twice the double, in fact.  Damn, I should have been careful.

Pretext.  I hate the word.  I googled it.  Here’s what I came up with.

An ostensible or professed purpose; an excuse. An effort or strategy intended to conceal something. A fictitious reason given in order to conceal the real one. A specious excuse; pretence. Something put forward to conceal a true purpose or object; ostensible reason; excuse.
The misleading appearance or behavior assumed with this intention; subterfuge.

It goes with guise, excuse, veil, show, cover, appearance, device, mask, ploy, cloak, simulation, semblance, ruse and red herring, I found out.  It’s like interposing ‘alleged’, which of course has cynical connotations.  

I think I was correct in using the word because I don’t think the reasons that Russia has offered for her interference in Ukraine hold any water.  I slipped, though, when I expressed what could be construed as horror about Russian moves in these terms, because I opened Barack and our United States of America to endless ridicule. 

I mean, my government (under Barack and under his predecessors) never subscribed to or defended the concept of sovereignty and territorial integrity.  We are not doing it in Syria right now. As for pretexts, I should have remembered Iraq, the invasion of Iraq rather, the invasion of Iraq on the basis of a lie rather, i.e. the pretext of negating the threat of (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction.  And we didn’t give a hoot when we attacked Libya.  We didn’t think of these lovely words when we attacked Serbia over Kosovo.  We just pay lip service to sovereignty and territorial integrity as and when it suits us.  Damn, I must have sounded such like an imbecile!

I should do better next time. I should keep telling myself this. Over and over again. I should do better next time. I should do better next time. I should do better next time. I should do better next time. I should do better next time.

I goofed when I was on ‘Face the Nation’ too.  I said, ‘Invasion is not the act of someone who is strong. It is the act of someone who is weak.’  How could I have let down Barack so badly? 
Let’s see.  Let’s leave out pretext.  We invaded Iraq.  We invaded Afghanistan. We’ve invaded Pakistan DF (de facto).  Serbia.  Wait.  It’s easier to google.  Here’s what I got from www.countercurrents.org.  Might not be true but then again considering that only compulsive liars are allowed to represent the United States of America I can’t really complain.  Check this out, folks.
(1) American Indian nations (1776 onwards, American Indian Genocide; 1803, Louisiana Purchase; 1844, Indians banned from east of the Mississippi; 1861 onwards, California genocide; 1890, Lakota Indians massacre), (2) Mexico (1836-1846; 1913; 1914-1918; 1923), (3) Nicaragua (1856-1857; 1894; 1896; 1898; 1899; 1907; 1910; 1912-1933; 1981-1990), (4) American forces deployed against Americans (1861-1865, Civil War; 1892; 1894; 1898; 1899-1901; 1901; 1914; 1915; 1920-1921; 1932; 1943; 1967; 1968; 1970; 1973; 1992; 2001), (5), Argentina (1890), (6), Chile (1891; 1973), (7) Haiti (1891; 1914-1934; 1994; 2004-2005), (8) Hawaii (1893-), (9) China (1895-1895; 1898-1900; 1911-1941; 1922-1927; 1927-1934; 1948-1949; 1951-1953; 1958), (10) Korea (1894-1896; 1904-1905; 1951-1953), (11) Panama (1895; 1901-1914; 1908; 1912; 1918-1920; 1925; 1958; 1964; 1989-), (12) Philippines (1898-1910; 1948-1954; 1989; 2002-), (13) Cuba (1898-1902; 1906-1909; 1912; 1917-1933; 1961; 1962), (14) Puerto Rico (1898-; 1950; ); (15) Guam (1898-), (16) Samoa (1899-), (17) Honduras (1903; 1907; 1911; 1912; 1919; 1924-1925; 1983-1989), (18) Dominican Republic (1903-1904; 1914; 1916-1924; 1965-1966),  (19) Germany (1917-1918; 1941-1945; 1948; 1961), (20) Russia (1918-1922), (21) Yugoslavia (1919; 1946; 1992-1994; 1999), (22) Guatemala (1920; 1954; 1966-1967), (23) Turkey (1922), (24) El Salvador (1932; 1981-1992),  (25) Italy (1941-1945); (26) Morocco (1941-1945), (27) France (1941-1945), (28) Algeria (1941-1945), (29) Tunisia (1941-1945), (30) Libya (1941-1945; 1981; 1986;  1989; 2011), (31) Egypt (1941-1945; 1956; 1967; 1973; 2013), (32) India (1941-1945),  (33) Burma (1941-1945), (34) Micronesia (1941-1945), (35) Papua New Guinea (1941-1945), (36) Vanuatu (1941-1945), (37) Austria (1941-1945), (38) Hungary (1941-1945), (39) Japan (1941-1945), (40) Iran (1946; 1953; 1980; 1984; 1987-1988; ), (41) Uruguay (1947), (42) Greece (1947-1949), (43) Vietnam (1954; 1960-1975), (44) Lebanon (1958; 1982-1984), (45) Iraq (1958; 1963; 1990-1991; 1990-2003; 1998; 2003-2011),  (46) Laos (1962-), (47) Indonesia (1965), (48) Cambodia (1969-1975; 1975), (49) Oman (1970), (50) Laos (1971-1973),  (51) Angola (1976-1992), (52) Grenada (1983-1984), (53) Bolivia (1986; ), (54) Virgin Islands (1989), (55) Liberia (1990; 1997; 2003), (56) Saudi Arabia (1990-1991), (57) Kuwait (1991), (58) Somalia (1992-1994; 2006), (59) Bosnia (1993-), (60) Zaire (Congo) (1996-1997), (61) Albania (1997), (62) Sudan (1998), (63) Afghanistan (1998;  2001-), (64) Yemen (2000; 2002-), (65) Macedonia (2001),  (66) Colombia (2002-), (67)  Pakistan (2005-), (68) Syria (2008; 2011-), (69) Uganda (2011), (70) Mali (2013), (71) Niger (2013).

Yes, we must be the weakest country on earth.  Damn.  Damn. Damn. 

Can I quit my job on the pretext of having a sudden, inexplicable urge to tell the truth, I wonder.  

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1 comments:

Ramzeen said...

The sad thing is that not a single country in the world could impose sanctions on America.