If all goes as planned, I'll be interviewing St. John's University Communications professor Dr. Richard Ice in an hour or so about the rhetoric and stagecraft Bush employs in his speech tonight. For prep, I'm wondering about the sudden appearance of this word "surge" to describe the president's planned deployment of 21,500 additional troops in Iraq? The term, obviously, has an active, almost optimistic (and, may I point out, temporary) ring to it--like waves crashing on an unsuspecting (wimpy, third-world) beach--and it doesn't carry the connotations its Vietnamy synonym, "escalation," does.
The Columbia Journalism Review says "surge" is "President Bush's word, a descriptor that at the very least belongs within quotations. So far, so good. It seems that a history of being burned by insufficient skepticism of the Bush administration and its policies has taught journalists and editors to put nearly everything in quotes."
Yes, but will the press stop using the term, sans quotes, should Bush's master plan involve a protracted or gradual addition of troops--an "escalation," if you will--instead of a massive and overwhelming spike in military resources?