The words we use to describe war and foreign policy matter, and they have far reaching implications for policymaking.

by Words About War Matter

From George Orwell’s critique of the language of totalitarian regimes to today, discussions of war and foreign policy have been full of dehumanizing euphemisms, bloodless jargon, little-known government acronyms, and troubling metaphors that hide warfare’s damage.

Think of “collateral damage” (civilian deaths), “overseas contingency operations” (wars), and “bug splat” (killing human beings with drone-fired missiles).

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This guide aims to help people write and talk about war and foreign policy more accurately, more honestly, and in ways people outside the elite Washington, DC foreign policy “blob” can understand.

We encourage you to use this guide, to share it with others, and to adapt it as necessary to local contexts. The guide should be especially helpful to journalists and other writers, podcasters and vloggers, policy analysts, teachers, scholars, and people involved in public education projects.

Read The Guide Here