24 October 2003

Donald Rumsfeld's defense of using the phrase "long, hard slog" to describe the current situation in Iraq may be my favorite piece of spin ever: he claims that "his preferred definition was spelled out in the Oxford English Dictionary as slog — to hit or strike hard, to drive with blows, to assail violently." Now, Rumsfeld's a pretty smart guy, and I have no doubt that he's literate enough to know and use this particular definition. Two points, though: 1) The definition that he gives is for a verb, not a noun, and the only comparable definition given of the noun "slog" in the OED is "a blow; a hard hit at cricket." And while it's true that a blow can be hard, it's tough to picture how it could also be long, even in cricket. 2) And really now, a hard hit at cricket? Somehow I never pictured Rumsfeld as a British cricket hooligan. Is Colin Farrell drafting Defense Department memoranda these days?

No comments: