I didn't watch much of the commentary around the POTUS's speech last night, but I noticed an odd pattern in the expert discussion on the war. The smart, expert, ex-military talking heads on the cable channels didn't seem to have a specific nomenclature for the enemy in Iraq. They called them "bad guys."
For example, Brigadier Gen. James "Spider" Marks (Ret.) on Anderson Cooper 360:
He talked about clearing and securing. He talked about protecting good guys, in the vernacular. And he talked about killing bad guys. And the U.S. has to help protect the good, and the Iraqis need to get about the business of killing the bad guys.
Sen. John McCain on Fox Special Report:
Before we would go into a place, clear, and leave, and the insurgents and bad guys would move back in and take over.
Col. Jack Jacobs (Ret.) on Scarborough Country:
[It's a] relatively small number of troops going into some neighborhoods in Baghdad, in parts of al Anbar Province, they`re going to kill some bad guys, capture some bad guys, pacify some areas and turn those areas over to some Iraqi troops.
A.J. Hammer on Showbiz Tonight:
Is it me, or are today`s big-screen action heroes getting older? I mean, instead of, you know, hopping in some kind of sexy car and cruising off into the sunset, they`re chasing down their bad guys with a walker.
Actually, that last one was from CNN's low-rated Hollywood news show. Still, though. Is it just the norm for ex-military people to call the enemy of a current conflict "bad guys"? It seems incredibly unenlightening for this particular conflict. It bolsters the idea that there are X number of villainous terrorists, and up to now we've been letting them off with a warning like the evil German soldier in Saving Private Ryan, and eventually they'll return to stab Adam Goldberg (read: everybody) in the chest. If there was a set number of "bad guys" in Iraq, though, we'd have this licked already.