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We are reminded of the bad old days, when a former president actually said that his meaning depended on what the meaning of “is” is.
Today, our word silliness is with “coup.”
But there is no silliness about it — it’s a deadly situation in Egypt.
The Obama administration is trying to not call the military’s removal of the country’s elected president, Mohammed Morsi, a “coup.” That reluctance comes because, if it was a coup, that would require ending all U.S. non-humanitarian aid to Egypt.
It was a coup.
Diplomats and the White House argue that “continued aid to Egypt’s military (is) a priority for America’s national security, Israel’s safety and broader stability in the Middle East that should not be jeopardized,” according to The Associated Press report.
Meanwhile, scores of people have died in the violence since the coup. The situation is dire.
Will the U.S. benefit from continuing to provide aid to a military that overthrew an elected government? Was the military right? Are we better off with the military in charge than Morsi, even with no elections in sight? The answer to all these questions could be, “Perhaps.” But if any of those determinations rests on how we define “coup,” then there isn’t much to discuss.
It was a coup. Let’s say so, and figure out where we go from here. . . . remembering, as we are urged to continue our $1.3 billion-a-year in aid to Egypt, that here in the United States, government employees are sent home for lack of funding; we hike our taxes to keep our schools open, cutting all manner of school programs; and many kids don’t get enough to eat any day of the week. There are plenty of uses for that $1.3 billion besides throwing it at the elusive, fervently hoped-for, peace in the Middle East.