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The Oct. 11 article by William Pfaff, “The war against Islamic State,” contains a reference to “asymmetric wars.” Can Pfaff please tell us what this means? I am sure I am not the only one who is baffled by this arcane term, which was no doubt the intention of the Pentagon when they dreamed up this piece of obfuscation.

As war is too important to be left to the generals, then the discussion of it should not be muddied or obscured by such examples of gobbledygook as “asymmetric wars/warfare.”

There is a disturbing trend to hide the realities of war behind sanitized, often-ridiculous phrases like “degrading the enemy’s assets.” What does this mean? Spitting on the enemy’s bank statements? If it means destroying the enemy’s tanks, artillery, bases, infantry, etc., then say so in plain English.

I even saw a recent news item that referred to British soldiers training Kurdish Peshmerga in the use of “heavy machinery.” On seeing the accompanying photos, it was obvious the writer meant “heavy machine guns” and “heavy artillery.”

When will this idiotic semantic silliness stop?

barry andrew ward
penang, malaysia

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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