Tired of hearing the latest cliché that has attached itself to Iraq?

Published 7:59 pm Friday, January 5, 2007

Are you as tired as I am of hearing the latest cliché that has attached itself in varying forms to the debacle called Iraq?

Oh, don’t scratch your head. I’ll make it easy, if you haven’t already figured it out. “The way forward,” or “the new way forward.” I’m sure there are some other versions of this recently invented cliché, but I can’t think of them right off hand.

The bi-partisan Iraq study group unintentionally kicked off this latest cliché with its report on what the United States should do to begin extracting itself from the debacle that developed from a base of lies. Of course, the president apparently has glanced at the report, then promptly shelved it because it didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear. Worst of all, it laid out in stark terms what had actually happened in that poor, benighted country and laid the blame where it belonged.

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For a man who believes he can do no wrong, the report simply was not something he could accept. However, he could accept a phrase from the title of the report, boy could he accept it. Now he refers to every step he makes as “the way forward,” or “the new way forward.”

The term has so permeated the White House that there isn’t an official there who speaks to the public that sooner or later, and usually sooner, that doesn’t refer to this or that as “the way forward, or “the new way forward.” I’m even more sick of that cliché than I am of the advertisement on television about some headache product that I intend never to use.

The term is so ingrained in the language of White House lackeys that I even heard it used at the funeral for former President Gerald Ford. I don’t at the moment remember the context, I do remember that, for me at least, it jarred the solemnity of the occasion and that I felt it was totally inappropriate.

What bothers me most about that term is that now I hear it so much from so many people, and usually used incorrectly. Not everything moves forward, or backward, or up, or down, yet seemingly every time someone does anything that they think others ought to take note of, someway is found to incorporate some version of “way forward” into the explanation or conversation.

Launch a new menu item and it is called “the new way forward.” Make a New Year’s resolution that may or may not be kept and it is “the new way forward.” Someone starts to step off to go somewhere and wants his or her companions to follow along and suddenly it is “the way forward,” even if everyone is moving back in the direction from which they came.

A meeting occurs at the office, and whatever is mentioned as a goal or direction suddenly becomes “the way forward.”

Like all clichés, the term has become so overused that it no longer has any meaning, even for those who mouth “the way forward.”

Like, it’s become “like,” or “you know,” you know.

Personally, I think, like, we’ve lost our way and it’s unlikely that we will ever be able to like find our way forward, you know, at least not with this president, you know.

Like, we managed to leave a quagmire under the president we just buried. Now this one has managed to lead us into another and like I don’t see that as a way forward, you know

Whew, like this deliberate misuse of terms is tough sledding, you know.

Like, I think I will try to avoid if for a few sentences. Oops, excuse me, when you start in this vein, like it’s difficult to leave it, you know.

Like I’ll find a new way forward, though, don’t you worry.

Oh well, I’m fixing to have to go into an office meeting where, like, you know, we’ll just find ourselves a new way forward, you know.

Now, don’t ya’ll go finding any new ways forward, or even any old ways forward, or like even like just a way forward, like until I get back, you know.