An Intentional Error

The many-sided dogfight in the Middle East is getting even more confused, and in the process the English language is getting richer. Now we have a new entry, the “intentional error”. And we have an item in today’s NYT explaining what it is and how it came to be.

Here’s some background. The Syrian army and the Russians are fighting ISIS for control of al-Bab, a strategic town between Aleppo and the Turkish border. So are elements of the Turkish army and remnants of the Free Syrian Army, which started the whole thing many years ago by revolting against Assad. That coalition is now attacking al-Bab from the other side of town. (We used to support parts of the FSA. If you want to know more about them I can tell you, but you’ll be sorry you asked). The FSA is still mad at Assad’s official Syrian army and will take a poke at it when it can, but the Russians and the Turks got together in Astana a little while back and agreed to keep their proxies focused on ISIS, which is fighting everybody. Evidently there was some agreement as to who would end up getting al Bab, or how they would divide it up, and the FSA was advancing a little too fast or in the wrong place, and the Russians dropped a few bombs, and three Turkish soldiers were killed. “So sorry”, said the Russians, “it was an error”. Someone on the receiving end of that attack, maybe FSA, maybe Turk, was heard to say, “Oh yeah, sure, it was an intentional error”.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how and why we now have the phrase “intentional error” to stand in the company of “alternative facts”, another bit of new-speak contrived by human ingenuity to meet an emergent need.

If you want to know which side we’re on, ask the neocons. If you ask me, we are well out of it.

Carl Coon
2/10/17

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