Bombing Syria, Bombing Britain, Bombing Guernica

Cunning Hired Knaves

Image via Oireachtas Retort Image via Oireachtas Retort 

The anti-war movement in the UK, rightly, is using the phrase ‘Don’t bomb Syria’ on its placards. From what I can see, just looking at news reports and the like, the phrase is not being used so widely by outlets and political figures calling for bombing. They are more likely to use ‘air strikes on Syria’, or in more specific terms, air strikes on IS in Syria’, though ‘bombing Syria’ frequently crops up on broadcast during less guarded conversation.

Thinking about each of these phrases in turn: an air strike is bombs dropped from the air, or, more likely, launched from the air with great force. But the term invites us to think the operation more precise than generic bombing. Most people know that bombs are not precise.

Granted, bombs receive adjectives that makes their effect seem less harmful: precision bombing, surgical bombing. If one…

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