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Is there really an “insurgency”?

This has been bothering me for a while. It seems the term(s) of the moment in Iraq is we’re fighting “insurgents” or an “insurgency.” According to the American Heritage dictionary, the definition of insurgent is: (1) Rising in revolt against established authority, especially a government; and, (2) Rebelling against the leadership of a political party. Similarly, Merriam-Webster defines insurgency as “a condition of revolt against a government that is less than an organized revolution and that is not recognized as belligerency.”

Okay, I’ll concede that given the current state of affairs, we are probably the “established authority” in Iraq (which may depend on whether you afford any particular meaning or significance to the term “established”). Yet it strikes me that the attacks aren’t based on opposition to any sort of government in power. Instead, the attackers seem to believe they are fighting an occupation army, not a government. I wonder what has led the media to near universal use of these terms in the current situation. Perhaps it’s as simple as the media viewing “rebellion” or “rebel” to imply a challenge to a duly constituted government.

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