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It’s just a matter of deploying the right strategic insults

Monday night, a suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded about 60 at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester; many of the victims were children. It appears the explosion was caused by a single attacker, although police on Tuesday also arrested a 23-year-old man “with regards to last night’s incident”; they offered no further details. Prime Minister Theresa May said police have identified the attacker but that it is too early in the investigation to make his identity public. The self-proclaimed Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack Tuesday.

In a televised statement from Downing Street, May said,

All acts of terrorism are cowardly…but this attack stands out for its appalling sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives …

The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together.

President Donald Trump, traveling in Israel, by contrast, vowed to combat terrorism by calling the terrorists “evil losers”:

 

“I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack and to the many killed and the families – so many families of the victims,” he said, describing his emotions on this “horrible morning of death” […]

“We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom,” Trump said. “So many young beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life.

“I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them, from now on, losers, because that’s what they are. They are losers. And we will have more of them. But they are losers, just remember that.”

Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire said Trump himself added the “evil losers” remarks into the prepared text, according to a White House official. It remains to be seen whether calling the terrorists losers will cause CNN commentators to proclaim him truly presidential at last.

Yr Wonkette is not a terrorism expert, and while we are not encouraged by Trump’s vow to call terrorists losers “from now on,” we’re going to hope he doesn’t get fixated on that one, since it reduces the victims of terrorist attacks to about the same level of seriousness with which Trump treats people he’s disagreed with on Twitter:

“Sickening cowardice” seems a lot more presidential than “losers,” just possibly. Unless of course Barack Obama had said it.

Also, because there’s no such thing as a tragedy that can’t be made worse by people spreading fake news, within hours of the attack British tabloids had run false reports of additional attacks at other sites, and photo collages of “missing children” whose images were apparently just grabbed off the internet. A number of people on Twitter also made up fake “missing friends” solely for the purpose of getting retweets. See, those are people to call losers. Not that terrorists deserve a more respectful term, but we’re sort of hoping the president can see that calling perpetrators of mass murder “losers” doesn’t so much hurt the terrorists as it treats their actions as roughly equivalent to internet trolling.

[NYT / Independent / Reuters / Guardian / Buzzfeed]

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