Framing War

Just a few associations in America with the word "war." It's powerful and should be used with care.
Just a few associations in America with the word “war.” It’s powerful and should be used with care.

“War” is a problematic word because of its many connotations. It evokes powerful positive and negative emotions and opinions that can vary widely among individuals and subcultures. For this reason, supporters of war often use euphemisms such as “action,” “conflict,” “force,” and “engagement with the enemy,” instead when they think it serves their interests to do so.

Politically, presidents have been awarded greater power and prestige during wartime. This may tempt some to engage in war unwisely, so it’s very important to try to ensure that war is entered only after the failure of extended good-faith diplomacy, the failure of good-faith efforts to address the issues with law enforcement, and the establishment that an attack by the other side is imminent or has already begun.

While the word "war" has many positive associations as well as negative ones, "deadly" connotes pain and death.
While the word “war” has many positive associations as well as negative ones, “deadly” connotes pain and death.

One way to do this is to speak of deadly conflict instead of war. This phrase emphasizes war’s deadly character. The peaceful prevention of deadly conflict should be a priority of all governments, including that of the U.S. What do you think?

I think it’s important to be careful about waging metaphorical wars on social problems such as drugs and poverty because they can’t be conquered with guns and armies. What do you think? Is there a different metaphor we could use?

Advertisements

One thought on “Framing War”

  1. As the word is usually used “war” implies a conflict with an end, a la WWII. “War and Peace.” Nowadays wars have no clear end. Social “wars” certainly fit this typology. What word(s) could we use to reflect this reality?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s