The US military adventure in Iraq is developing its own tortured jargon, along with its own tortured logic. Terms like "towel-heads" are out, acronyms are in:
IEDs are improvised explosive device, typically the roadside bombs that target passing humvees.
VBIEDs are vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, military-speak for car bombs.
AIFs are "anti-Iraqi forces," the name the US forces use to refer to the insurgents (who would no doubt consider themselves decidedly PRO-Iraqi).
IO is US military slang for "information operation" -- an event designed to influence the propaganda war. For example:
At the polling place I had admired the voters and their strangely complicated response to what it was they were doing. But I realized that 'the IO' was not there but here before me now, on the television set, with the lines of voters and their smiles and purple fingers and the heavy breathing about 'more than 80 percent' turnout. This was the IO...The acronyms and the quote above are from Mark Danner's excellent article, Iraq: The Real Election, a first-hand account of the bizarre reality of the highly-acclaimed Iraqi elections.
What would be the verbal equivalent for the images that already were dominating the world's television screens: the lines of people, the purple fingers, the explosions in the background which made the voters flinch but not waver? We needed someone to say: Thank heaven Saddam has gone, thank heaven the Americans came, thank you for giving us democracy. And no one -- at least here in this voting place in Baghdad -- seemed to want to say it...
Television cameras, which could only show what was before them in the polling places, could not show the day's critical actors, the Sunnis, who did not appear.