In a briefing on board Air Force One Wednesday, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes took a crack at an answer. "I think what we are doing is enforcing a resolution that has a very clear set of goals, which is protecting the Libyan people, averting a humanitarian crisis, and setting up a no-fly zone," Rhodes said. "Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end."
-- snip --
Now, White House officials are referring to the war in Libya not as a war but as a "kinetic military action." As common as "kinetic" might be among those in government, it still seems likely to strike members of the public as a euphemism that allows the Obama administration to describe a war as something other than a war.
Some object on moral grounds to the use of a euphemistic expression for warfare. Others object because it is typical of what George Orwell called 'political speech,' which gives "an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
I object on aesthetic grounds. The term "kinetic military action" is way too clunky and has too many syllables. Consider how awful it sounds:
“Cry 'Havoc', and let slip the dogs of kinetic military action" - Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1
"Kinetic military action is too important to be left to the generals" - Georges Clemenceau
"Kinetic military action is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things" - John Stewart Mill
"If you would have peace, prepare for kinetic military action" (“Si vis pacem, para bellum”) - Flavius Vegetius Renatus
"Only the dead have seen the end of kinetic military action" - George Santayana, but frequently misattributed to Plato
"Kinetic military action! ... huh ... yeah ... What is it good for?" – Edwin Starr, Billboard #1 hit song of 1970
"There was never a good kinetic military action or a bad peace” - Benjamin Franklyn
"Kinetic military action is the continuation of politics by other means" - Clausewitz
“I have seen kinetic military action “ - FDR, referring to the KMA to end all KMAs, 1914-1917
Don't tap dance around such a serious topic, Mr. Deputy National Security Adviser. Just talk plainly. It's more honest, and it also sounds better.