Construction matters and the Random Ten

Much ink and many electrons have been spent on the so-called blunders committed by Barack Obama and John McCain about whether the lives of soldiers in Iraq have been wasted or not. Let's get one point straight from the outset--calling their lives wasted in no way denigrates the sacrifice they made, and to argue that it does is simple dishonesty. But let's look at what the men actually said, because their construction of the sentences matters.

Obama's statement, generally shortened to some version of "soldiers deaths = wasted lives" was actually this: "we've seen over three thousand lives... wasted." The question, then, is by whom, and the obvious answer is the Bush administration. Looking at the entire quote as opposed to the paraphrase makes it clearer what Obama was saying, though the passive voice doesn't help matters. At any rate, what's obvious is that Obama was not using the equation mentioned above.

And neither was McCain, though he didn't make the same point that Obama did. McCain said "We've wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives." No passive construction there, but again, the soldiers' sacrifices are not being called wasted--their lives have been wasted in that sentence, and what's more, McCain says that he bears some of the responsibility for that, as he's been a supporter of this fiasco from the beginning. He's right, too--those lives have been wasted, because they were sacrificed needlessly, and for a goal which, ill-defined as it was, will never be reached.

Here's the random ten for this week--the iTunes is on Party shuffle, and I'm in a party mood because I'm on spring break now. Hawaiian shirts are out of storage, and the beer is on ice. Here's the next ten in the list.

1. Personal Jesus--Johnny Cash
2. Don't Bust My Chops--The Ramones
3. Yoruba Road--Boozoo Bajou
4. Nowalaters--The Coup
5. 91 Dodge Van--Thinking Fellers Union Local 282
6. Casimir Pulaski Day--Sufan Stevens
7. Saturday Night--Ozomatli
8. What a Good Boy--Barenaked Ladies
9. Stonehenge--Spinal Tap
10. Hush--Squirrel Nut Zippers

So what's your spring Break listening groove? Or, alternatively, what beer are you planning on drinking this weekend? Anything--just comment.

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