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September 05, 2013 2:27 PM Gibberish Translator

By Ed Kilgore

Since we are all in Foreign Policy Hell this week, some of us may be struggling to reacquire the language and B.S-detector skills so commonly honed to a fine edge during the height of the Iraq War. Fortunately, Micah Zenko of Foreign Policy has provided a “translation guide” that may prove immediately useful. Here’s a sample:

“We’re evaluating the situation”: We still haven’t done anything….
“All options are on the table”: Bombs.
“We welcome this debate”: After harnessing the federal government’s resources to hide the issue, we’re going to dilute it with adjectives, already-public information, and selective leaking.
“I’m not in a position to comment here”: An anonymous “official” can fill you in via a well-placed leak momentarily.
“I will look into that”: I probably won’t look into that, but feel free to ask again at tomorrow’s press briefing.

Zenko doesn’t get into the special Foreign Policy-Speak meaning of regular old English words like “robust” and “developing,” but perhaps there will be additional installments of this service.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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