Insurgency / insurgent

The people the US is fighting against in Iraq and Afghanistan are called many things, most often insurgents or terrorists. Rebel is also apt, but nobody uses it.

In a speech on the Iraq war at the U.S. Naval Academy on November 30, 2005, Bush unveiled rejectionists and saddamists. The only earlier uses of saddamists I could find referred to members of the deposed Iraqi regime, i.e. those pictured on the notorious playing cards, and not to loyalists or sympathizers. Saddamists no doubt resonates with Bush's political base because it sounds like sodomists.

An insurgency is an armed rebellion against an established, recognized government. As an occupying force that illegally invaded a sovereign nation, the U.S. can hardly be regarded as the legitimate government.

In another time on these shores, people took up arms against the established, recognized government, We call them patriots.

During the 1980s, the U.S. supported and armed rebels fighting the Sandinista Nicaraguan government, many of whom were CIA-trained death squad members engaged in sabotage, assassination, bombings, and other acts considered terrorism. But we called them contras.

It all depends on what side you're on.

Fourth of July


Big bother

Security measures of the DC Metro apparently include keeping passengers annoyed and in motion.

Thought I was going to get arrested at the Union Station subway station the other morning. With $1.15 remaining on my fare card, decided to add $20 so there wouldn't be any problems on the way home. Swipe my card at the add fare machine, take the receipt, and on my way.

Waved the fare card over the reader, and in that moment the gate slid open I glanced down at the display, which said $ 1.15. But there was a space between the dollar sign and the 1.

I paused to think. Was the display broken and missing a digit, or was my card short $20? No way am I going through again just to check the balance.

"The track is that way," said a cop in camo, gesturing toward the escalators. My hat probably threw him off. "That way," he repeated, not at all helpfully.

I walked to the nation manager's glass-walled booth, where a tall man stood wearing a high-visibility vest, holding out my fare card.

"Excuse me….

"Did you go through the gate?" he barked at me. "You have to go through the gate."

"I was just…"

"You have to go through the gate," he insisted. "Did you go through the gate?"

I stared at him. Hard. I tried to muster an expression that said, "Did you just fart?"

"A-yes," I said slowly and deliberately, adopting an accent like Borat's cousin from Kazakhstan. "I did went in gate. Kind please check card balance?"

He took my card, eyeing me suspiciously. I stared back blankly. He swiped the card over the reader. "Twenty dollars, fifteen cents," he grouched.

Almost made me mad enough to taunt him with my bagel.