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A Dictionary Reference to the War on ISIS


2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force

The gift that just keeps on giving.

Bad Guys

Whoever it is that is currently being bombed and shot at by the U.S. and its “partners.”


Those committing war crimes without the use of cruise missiles and drones.

Chemical Weapons

A particularly heinous and savage munition no white phosphorous and napalm-using nation could ever stand to see deployed.


A military alliance of democracy promoters comprised of the U.S., it’s European lackeys, and the medieval monarchies of the Gulf.

Collateral Damage

The inevitable killing of innocent civilians in military operations.  Regrettable, but what’s one to do?  Ground the drones and shelve the bombs?  Never.  Instead, just avoid having to even acknowledge any measure of regret by denying and concealing all occurrences.  And if that fails, maybe a little blood money will be enough to shut the locals up.

Good Guys

The “moderates” receiving U.S. arms and cash in order to sell American journalists to those beheading “bad guys.”

Homeland Security

That which requires the endless bombing of faraway lands (mainly “Iraq”), in addition to the snatching up of every American’s personal communications.

Imminent Threat

A threat which won’t materialize in the immediate future, but nonetheless justifies the calls of those demanding that “something must be done.”

International Community

Those voting with the U.S. at the United Nations and joining its “coalitions.”

International Law

The internationally accepted rules governing states in their relations with other states.  Not applicable, however, to those within the “international community.”


An ancient land of rich history going all the way back to 1979, when 52 Americans were inexplicably held hostage by “violent extremists” for over one year.  So, needless to say, a nation long in need of “regime change.”


A U.S. bombing target long suffering from instability outside of a brief period of stabilization occurring from 2003 – 2010.

Iraq War

A “mistake.”

ISIS/ISIL/The Islamic State

The reason du jour “something must be done.”  And accordingly, a much needed boon to the beleaguered military-industrial-surveillance complex.

Khorasan Group

An illusory group terrorizing the dreams of those consulting with “official sources“.


All areas recently bombed by American fighters or falling under the control of occupying American forces.

Limited Strikes

A rebranding of Shock and Awe for a time of heightened “war fatigue.”

Middle East

A vast depository holding America’s “oil.”

Military Advisers

Combat troops deployed to fight a war that was said to have already been won.

Military Option

The only option serious policymakers will ever consider.

Mission Creep

The slow rollout of a military campaign occurring in piecemeal due to the dangerous case of “war fatigue” afflicting the politically immature American public.


A U.S. war undertaken with the purest of intentions, but for some reason still concludes with a majority of Americans opposed to it.


The “good guys” eating the hearts of “violent extremists.”

No Boots on the Ground

The deploying of a small enough number of American boots on the ground that Americans will neither notice nor care.

Objective Reporting

Giving equal weight to both sides of a story; that is, weighing the competing claims of “official sources” over whether “ISIS” poses a grave threat to “homeland security” or a dire threat to “homeland security.”

Official Sources

Those whispering horror stories about fictitious terror groups into the receptive ears of objective reporters.


A highly lucrative global commodity owned wholly by the U.S. and exchangeable in both blood and American dollars.

On the Table

The use of the “military option” (nuclear weapons and all).


Those helping to put an Arab face on the ritualized American bombing of Iraq.


The realization of U.S. full spectrum dominance throughout the “Middle East,” and the world more generally.

Political Solution

A solution to be sought once the much more profitable “military option” has been fully exhausted.

Public Opinion

The misguided policy judgments of the ill-informed and fickle masses.  Elite capitulation to such popular sentiments is to be avoided until the masses can be properly brought along.

Regime Change

Fixing the electoral mistakes of people in dispensable nations.

Responsibility to Protect

The responsibility to cloak imperial projects in the liberal guise of humanitarianism.

Saudi Arabia

A state governed by a benignly beheading clan of democrats kindly overseeing to the well-being of America’s “oil.”

Something Must Be Done

A phrase to be employed in the wake of attacks on American nationals or American interests.  “Something” understood to mean “bombs”; “done” understood to mean “dropped.”


A necessary pit stop on the road to Tehran.


The use of violence—or the threat of violence—to attain goals that are political, economic, religious, or ideological in nature.  Oh wait, that can’t be, because that would mean…

Territorial Integrity

A pillar of international law, holding that a state’s sovereignty is sacred.  Well, sacred for any non-exceptional state, as exceptional states are obviously “not going to be restricted by borders.”


The perpetuation of endless war.

Violet Extremists

Locals resorting to violence to combat “liberating” American forces and their various proxies.

War Fatigue

The tendency of a weak-kneed American public to waver in its continued support of a just war.  War fatigue is easily overcome through “objective reporting.”

World’s Policeman

A state acting within the international system as a cop would on his beat.  That is, a state terrorizing and killing unarmed people of color with utter impunity.

Ben Schreiner is a writer living in Oregon.  He may be reached at

Ben Schreiner is the author of A People’s Dictionary to the ‘Exceptional Nation’.  He may be reached at or via his blog.

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