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Language (written and spoken) is how we communicate. Words really do mean things and when we misuse a word, we destroy the meaning of that word as well as the use and meaning of the proper word. A terrorist is a person who uses violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. To call someone who assaulted and robbed you a terrorist is marginally correct (the criminal did probably induce terror in you) but to apply that term to him destroys the terminology to use and describe true terrorists.

The term "Traitor" is getting tossed around a lot lately. I thought I should take the time to inform you clearly of what a traitor is and how it is different from a turncoat, a more accurate but mostly unknown term. Just to be clear, a traitor is always a turncoat, but a turncoat is not always a traitor.

The term "turncoat" means someone who has switched allegiances, and comes from the time when the professional armies had distinct uniforms from other countries. This was how one side could tell who were friendlies vs. enemies, preventing what we today call "blue on blue" events, or friendly fire. If you were to remove your coat and turn it inside out then put it back on, your coat would probably be a different color (and harder to fasten with the buttons being on the inside). The function of this is you will mask who you are to someone at a distance. If a British Redcoat had switched to the side of the Colonists, he would turn his coat inside out, thus making him look less like a Redcoat and somewhat more like the Blue-clothed Colonials. A red coat in a sea of blue would stick out pretty dramatically and make an easy sniper target.

A traitor is a turncoat who has done so during a time of war. A traitor is someone who "gives aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war." This means, according to the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11), that Congress must declare that a state of war exists between the United States and another country. If there is no war, you cannot have a traitor. In modern times when we have fought two wars against non-state armed forces that intentionally wears no uniform so they can blend into the local population, there is no entity or country to declare war against. A grey area would be where a soldier deserts his post and seeks out the enemy to surrender himself to them In a combat zone. There was a soldier who did that in Afghanistan and I refuse to mention his name. That was a traitorous act. The traitor did not give any strategic, tactical or operational information to the enemy, but did give them a morale boost, especially when several of their compatriots were exchanged for this single traitor.

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