Whorled View

July 14, 2008

9 Troops Killed – How many soldiers is that?!

Check out the definition of a Troop:


Notice something strange?  With 14 possible definitions, every single definition indicates that a troop is more than one person.  So how many people died when 9 troops are killed?  Well, let see if the minimum for a troop is 2 soldiers (and more likely 4 to 50), then with 9 troops killed that’s at least 18 soldiers, or more likely 36 to 450 soldiers … right?


Apparently when you’re the one who gets to create the news you can redefine words at your whim and fancy to mislead, confuse, and persuade.  In this case, whenever the mainstream media talks about “troops” being killed, it seems that according to the media a troop is one soldier.  That’s right.  One soldier.  So apparently if you’re in the news corp you can refer to Private Smith as Troop Smith (kind of like Trooper Smith except that “Trooper” sounds like only one person, and that’s not really what the media is going for).  Now, Troop Smith, is in my meager understanding a Troop of multiple Smiths, but then I’m just a regular guy who just reads dictionaries.  What do I know?  I’m not the all-knowing media.

Also when you own the media you’re allowed to ignore existing and more suitable words that the ones you redefine or make up, especially if they don’t serve your purpose.  You can, for example, ignore the word “Soldier” which, like “Trooper”, sounds like only one person.  That’s not good if you want 9 Soldiers to sound like even more than what they already are.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong – but 9 soldier deaths (as horrible as they are), is mathematically far far less than 18 soldier deaths , or (what fits the definition more closely) anywhere from 36 to 450 soldier deaths, which has a lot of shock value.

Just something to think about next time you read X-many troops killed.  Don’t be fooled by the mainstream media.  Instead, just get out your dictionary and a pen and write in there after definition number 14:

15) troop – what the msm likes to call one soldier when they want the number to sound really large.



  1. This war is a shame all the way around! We need to bring our “troops” home!

    Comment by Sam — July 14, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

  2. A real shame would be snatching victory from our “soldiers” by making them come home just just before the fledgling government has completed taking control of the security.

    Although the media has successfully semantically inflating death statistics by grossly misusing the word “troop”, we still know to their chagrin that real progress has been consistently taking place since the surge. Enough so that even Obama is no longer talking about an immediate troop withdraw. How you like them apples, MSM?

    Comment by lullabyman — July 14, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

  3. The term “troops” to indicate an individual constantly drives me nuts. I bet Fox News invented it to toy with real thinkers. What’s wrong with just “soldiers?” William Safire talked about this in the NYT a while ago.

    Comment by paige — July 25, 2008 @ 5:48 am

  4. Great point. I found the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/magazine/26wwln-safire-t.html

    He suggests using the word “warrior” as it is comprehensive for all those involved, and I like it. Support our Warriors overseas. Though I’m sure the word is far too glamorous to be used by news reporters who like to paint our soldiers in a victimized light. The headline “9 Warriors Killed” does imbue a sense of reverence rather than the shame it seems they’re going for.

    Which makes better sense considering these potential sacrifices were understood by those who joined the armed forces out of a sense of love and respect for our country. I wish I had a bumpersticker that says “Support our Warriors” along with a flag and a filled outline of a soldier. I’d put it next to my “No Date for Surrender” and “Support our Troops, Let Them Win” bumperstickers.

    One other thing I like about the term “Warrior”. A soldier is not a warrior until they’ve been in battle. These servicemen and women in Iraq are in battle and they deserve that distinction and the respect that accompanies it.

    Comment by lullabyman — July 25, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

  5. I agree with you. But I’m confused about why you and I are one of the FEW people who caught that.

    I think that movie IDIOCRACY is really happening gradually in America.

    Comment by Emily Reigns — December 30, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

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