AMERICAN NOTES: War of Words

One of the casualties of the Viet Nam War sometimes seems to be the English language. Thus the South Vietnamese invasion into Laos has evoked some zealously euphemistic official prose. Although no newsmen were allowed to accompany the operation, it was clear that Saigon's troops were not only killing thousands of North Vietnamese soldiers but also taking devastating casualties themselves, and in some instances retreating in bloody disorder (see THE WORLD). Pentagon analysts called it "a rearguard action under medium pressure," and some Saigon briefers spoke of it as "redeployment"—a word that suggests the shuffling of papers from IN basket...

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