Favorite Iraq War phrases

In honor of the supposed end of combat operations in Iraq, I thought it might be good to point out those turns of phrase in the propaganda efforts that most touched our hearts. Please let me know if I’ve forgotten any, as I’m thinking of having a formal online poll to vote for our favorites.

  • “You don’t roll out a new product before Labor Day.”
  • WMDs
  • A slam dunk
  • “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
  • “British intelligence has learned….”
  • “Sexing up” the intelligence
  • Yellow cake
  • Shock and awe
  • Coalition of the willing
  • Known unknowns
  • “You got to war with the army you have, not the army you want.”
  • “Democracy is messy.”
  • “Mission Accomplished”
  • “Bring it on!”
  • The “Pottery Barn rule” [later repudiated by Pottery Barn]
  • Insurgency
  • Enhanced interrogation techniques
  • Counterinsurgency
  • “Winning hearts and minds”
  • Timetables (artificial and otherwise)
  • Cut and run
  • Stay the course
  • The surge
  • Friedman units (i.e., six months)
  • “As the Iraqis step up, we’ll step down.”
  • “The end of combat operations.”

25 thoughts on “Favorite Iraq War phrases

  1. Oh, and possibly two others:

    Axis of evil, though that’s arguably more 9/11 and predates the Iraq War.

    “Not a timetable, but a *horizon* for withdrawal.”

  2. Imminent threat!!!

    Hm, “gassed his own people.” Also “Democracy whiskey sexy,” one of the saddest things ever said, though it may not technically qualify.

  3. Seconding “Chemical Ali”. Sounds like an MMA fighter.

    Also: Brad–email me about a possible publisher for the dissertation if you’re interested, as there’s no comment space on that post.

  4. You forgot “Let’s roll!” And I enthusiastically second “Advise and Assist Brigades.” The “withdrawal” from Iraq is as phony as the reasons we invaded Iraq in the first place. The perfectly consistent factor all along has been full-throttle falsification. The Pizza Huts in Iraq will keep on “rolling” till the job is done (i.e., till petroleum is so expensive that U.S. tax slaves cannot be squeezed to sustain our massive bases anymore no matter what draconian measures are taken). Even the most intelligent hawks are beginning to see the writing on the wall and want to contract the military to save it. As the juggernaut “rolls” toward fatal overextension and sudden chaos. The Roman and British empires endured for hundreds of years; ours grew overnight like a weed and is going to die suddenly like a weed, because its root and structure is so shallow (like the Soviet). Constituted by the weakest kind of power. The powers that be today–military-industrial-congressional–are too uncultured to understand the different forms of power, and how they need to be used in balance to endure. Not that I want the Holy American Empire to endure, God forbid–to the contrary, I want see us to become a huge Denmark. Let’s roll–on bicycles.

  5. “Aluminum tubes”

    “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

    “Pink mist.” (regarding what is seen from afar when someone treads on a landmine).

    “There will be investigations. People will be brought to justice.” (George W. Bush on Abu Ghraib)

    and my favorite:
    “We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will.”

Comments are closed.