Thursday, August 30, 2007

reform – noun

A legislative reversion to policies in place when one's political party was in power.

potentially – adverb

Never (but interesting to contemplate).

scholar - noun (reprise)

A stenographer with an advanced degree.

scandal – noun

A distracting glimmer on the visible surface of malfeasance.

allegedly – adverb

Certainly, absent a confession.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

emergency – noun

A crisis requring immediate action or assistance – if it occurs in a swing state.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

timetable – noun

A schedule of troop withdrawals faxed to the enemy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

integrity – noun

A strict adherence to one's principals.

"Al Gonzales is a man of integrity..."


To make the site more user-friendly, I have added along the right column (1) an index for the whole dictionary and (2) a Feedburner tab to subscribe for email updates.

EFP – noun

Abbr. "explosively formed penetrator." An Iranian WMD.

analogy – noun

A form of inference about what one doesn't understand via comparison with what one understands poorly.

COMMENT: Rest assured that our Iraq venture is as noble as our previous roles in Vietnam or the Philippines.

Friday, August 24, 2007

philanthropy - noun

(Origin: Greek "love of mankind.") A method for loving one's fellow man while keeping him at a safe distance.

counterterrorism - noun

1. Retaliatory terrorism.

2. The nationalization of terrorism.

3. A strategy for preventing domestic terrorism by deploying troops abroad as human shields.

4. The innoculation of a civilian population from terrorism by exposing it to small doses.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

scholar - noun

A type of foam used by political interests to insulate ideas from criticism.

policy - noun

Politics by other means.

Monday, August 20, 2007

skeptic - noun

One who follows the group jumping off the cliff but questions whether the project has been properly managed.

critic - noun

A supporter who wishes to hedge his bets.


On the road yet again. Posting will be light until August 27th.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Analysis: Erin Burnett and Hilary Clinton

I don't understand the outrage over Erin Burnett's China comments on Hardball:

Ya know, if China were to revalue it’s currency or China is to start making say, toys that don’t have lead in them or food that isn’t poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up and that means prices at Wal-Mart here in the United States are going to go up too. So, I would say China is our greatest friend right now, they’re keeping prices low and they’re keeping the prices for mortgages low, too.

Burnett was simply making the sensible point that Clinton made to Obama about confronting terrorists in Pakistan: all options should be left on the table.

It's really naive to rule out a priori poisoning our children or pets as not worthy of deliberation under any circumstances. In fact, it would entail restricting consumer choice and intervening in the free market. If that isn't un-American, what is?

evidence - noun

(Origin: Latin "clear, obvious.") That which confirms what is already obvious from hearsay, gut feeling, or common sense.

profile – noun

A one-sided biographical sketch.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

mistake – noun

(Origin: Old Norse "to take in error.") Something in one's possession that really belongs to someone else.

estimate - noun

The precise number found to attract a majority vote, settle a negotiation, or win a contract.

consent – verb

To fail to object.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

due process - noun

Law A legal requirement according to which every citizen has the right to a systematic, orderly interrogation without disruption by courts or counsel.

COMMENT: Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby (USN), Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and expert on the concept of due process:

DIA's approach to interrogation is largely dependent upon creating an atmosphere of dependency and trust between the subject and interrogator. Developing the kind of relationship of trust and dependency necessary for effective interrogations is a process that can take a significant amount of time. There are numerous examples of situations where interrogators have been unable to obtain valuable intelligence from a subject until months, or even years, after the interrogation process began.

Anything that threatens the perceived dependency and trust between the subject and interrogator directly threatens the value of interrogation as an intelligence-gathering tool. Even seemingly minor interruptions can have profound psychological impacts on the delicate subject-interrogator relationship. Any insertion of counsel into the subject-interrogator relationship, for example – even if only for a limited duration or for a specific purpose – can undo months of work and may permanently shut down the interrogation process. Therefore, it is critical to minimize external influences on the interrogation process.

coercive - adjective

Persuasive without the use of words.

opportunity - noun

An appropriate occasion to blunder.

At one point, Rice said that the difficult circumstances in the Middle East could represent opportunity. "I don't read Chinese but I am told that the Chinese character for crisis is wei-ji, which means both danger and opportunity," she said in Riyadh. "And I think that states it very well. We'll try to maximize the opportunity."

pet - noun

An animate fashion accessory that is usually paired with a handbag.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

QOTD: Russell Baker on bloggers

In his recent New York Review of Books piece on newspaper journalism, Russell Baker offers perhaps the most optimistic assessment of blogging ever offered by a journalist:

Blogging is a more interesting development, perhaps because bloggers are so passionate about it. It is a valuable restraint on careless and sloppy journalism, for the vigilance of the bloggers misses not the slightest error or the least omission, and the fury of their rage is terrible to bear. Committed bloggers insist that they are practicing journalism just as surely as a correspondent like John Burns is practicing journalism when reporting on the Iraq war from Baghdad for The New York Times. Anyone wishing to debate the point must be ready to argue all night and well into next week. What is indisputable is that practically every blogger can now be a columnist. With vast armies of columnists blogging away, it seems inevitable that a few may eventually produce something original, arresting, and refreshing and so breathe new life into this worn-out journalistic form.

Yes, I too look forward to the day when a precious few bubble up from the blogosphere to contribute something interesting.

victory – noun

An early stage of an insurgency or guerilla war.

strategy - noun

A Powerpoint presentation of military plans for civilian consumption.

embassy – noun

A heavily fortified, forward operating base.

anecdote - noun

A brief but thorough biography.

Monday, August 13, 2007

beheading – noun

A jihadist's exercise in shock and awe, but with fewer civilian casualties.

balanced - adjective (reprise)

Quoting both sides of any fact.

empathy - noun

The dismissal of another's suffering as precedented by one's own.

COMMENT: Rudy Giuliani on the 9/11 first responders: "I'm one of them."

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Still on the road. Back on Tuesday.

PVS - noun

Abbr. "Persistent Vegetative State." A severe, incurable brain disorder caused by excessive exposure to C-SPAN debates.

COMMENT: Sen. Frist offers his diagnosis on C-SPAN 2:

Friday, August 10, 2007

enhanced interrogation - noun

Mutual resume padding.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

issue - noun

A discussion topic at a Beltway coctail party that makes the news cycle.

avatar - noun

The seat of personal identity.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

agency - noun

A governmental bureau that provides a specific disservice or performs a particular dysfunction (e.g. CIA, FEMA, EPA).

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

data mining - noun

A homeland-security program for extracting personal information from corporate databases to improve customer service.

Monday, August 6, 2007

corruption - noun

The ultimate trajectory of all natural processes, e.g. biological, thermodynamic, political.

accountability - noun

The willingness to admit that mistakes were made, without granting that anyone made a mistake.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

private - adjective

Not yet recorded, mined, or confessed.

national security - noun

The government's capacity to protect its citizens from foreign invasion, terrorism, and civil liberties.

classified - adjective

Not safe for sane viewing.

defense - noun

The ability to project overwhelming force anywhere on the globe.

Friday, August 3, 2007

conservation - noun

The stage between scarcity and cannibalism.

consultant - noun

A species of parasite that attaches itself to the chests of political candidates.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


I am leaving today for yet another long trip. Posting will be light to non-existent until August 14th.

Review: the Month of July

July saw 39 definitions: 37 new terms and 2 reprises.

Adding the totals to May and June, the Terrorist's Dictionary has 167 entries for 162 terms.

Here are July's definitions ...


appropriation – noun

architect – noun


balanced – adjective


cafe – noun

coalition – noun (reprise)

contempt – noun

cost-plus – adjective

counterinsurgency – noun


debate – verb, noun

decider – noun


earmark – noun (reprise)

embedded – adjective

ethics – noun

evildoer – noun

executive privilege – noun


first responder – noun

flip-flop – noun

foreign aid – noun


general – noun


heckuva – adjective

hero – noun

homeland – noun


massage – noun


netroots – noun


peace – noun

photo op – noun

politicize – verb

privacy – noun


quid pro quo – noun


refugee – noun


safety net – noun

sovereignty – noun

study group – noun

subpoena – noun

suspect – noun


war president – noun

withdrawal – noun


yellow alert – noun


zealot – noun

[June's definitions]

[May's defintions]

sustainable stability – noun

Political and social cohesion that can be maintained until the next general election.

COMMENT: Sustainable stability is synonymous with "sustainable security."

imminent – adjective

Theoretically possible at some point in the future.

USAGE: Iraq is an imminent threat to the United States.

accomplished – adjective

Theater At the point in a tragic plot where the hero's downfall becomes inevitable.