I haven’t been able to find anything online about this, but I saw the most bizarre government press briefing moment last night on Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC show Countdown. It involved Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and another Pentagon spokesman, General Peter Pace. (The transcript isn’t up yet but will appear soon here, I assume). The press briefing was held yesterday.
Anyway, at one point Rumsfeld announces he no longer wants to refer to the people killing our troops in Iraq as “insurgents”. He doesn’t like the word. It gives them legitimacy or something. So, on the spot, Rumsfeld decrees the word banned.
Well, this was news to General Pace, who on several occasions stumbled looking for a word or phrase to replace “insurgent”. He got quite flustered (and was probably cursing Rummy in his head). On at least on occasion Pace simply gave up and used the "I" word anyway then turned and apologized to Rumsfeld. It looked a lot like a comedy routine right off of Saturday Night Live.
Like I said yesterday, the Bush administration when faced with adversity simply changes the wording. Weird.