Since almost no one reads this blog (unless they’re looking for term-paper help), I’ll reward those of you who do — by sharing some historic tidbits, jewels meant to be embedded in the story-cloak I’m weaving.
Now we know for sure: military doublespeak has always sounded just like that.
First, as the War of 1812 began and rumors surged through the military town of New-York that young men stationed at Staten Island would be deployed in the invasion of Canada, a pro-government newspaper scoffed:
We are authorized to state that no troops stationed on Governor’s Island have proceeded or are ordered to proceed to the North. The rumour that such an order is to be given is false and groundless.
Read that carefully for what it doesn’t say.
Then, once those same troops had been bloodied in Montreal, news came that the British had set fire to Washington, D.C. Leave it to the recruiters to see a silver lining, according to a young infantryman:
Now, says the orderly sergeant, the British have burnt up all the papers at Washington, and our enlistment for the war among them, we had better give in our names as having enlisted for five years.
At least they hadn’t yet invented stop-loss.