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Unformatted text preview: d. A qualitative analysis of war news 129 they actually represent values different from those of the “sabre-rattling
The third group of expressions is centred on the metaphor WAR IS
BUSINESS. The economic cost of war, when it concerns possible losses in
international trade, or considers the financing used for equipping the
army, providing it with ammunition and fuel, training, supplying food,
clothing and pay for the soldiers, organizing billets and medical support,
finally paying insurance for requisitions, are hardly metaphorical (see example (46)). When, however, soldiers and civilians’ suffering, injuries and
casualties are discussed in terms of gain and loss, then we encounter an
implementation of the generic metaphor QUALITY IS QUANTITY in its
specification WAR IS BUSINESS. It provides a metaphoric understanding of
the ‘cost’ of human life. Often the human life is then balanced by such abstract and intangible notions as ‘freedom’ or ‘right to self-determination’.
Such an approach is transparent in the excerpts in (47) and (58):
(46) As the Prime Minister said yesterday that she is ready if necessary
to turn the Falklands into a fortress for an indefinite period, we are
entitled to know the estimated annual cost of all this and where the
money will come from?
(47) Mr Whitelaw: The Prime Minister was surely right when she said
freedom was worth defending. The right of self-determination of the
Falklands is worth defending. That is what we are doing.
The whole country owes an unrepayable debt to the forces who
have given their lives in the Falklands.
(48) As the price of recovery of the islands grows, in life, in injury and in
money, will Mr Whitelaw accept that Argentina is not interested just
in the Falklands and in South Georgia, but in the South Sandwich
islands and British Antarctica…
(49) a full list and analysis of the costs on life, equipment, and money in
this tragic and unnecessary war?
The passage in (48) is a particularly interesting instance of using the literal and the metaphoric meanings of the word price as if it was one in an
enumerative sequence: the price … in life (metaphoric), in injury (metaphoric) and in money (literal). What’s more, even the critics of the war
(excerpt (49)) use the same metaphoric/literal meaning fuzziness in their
argumentation (costs on life, equipment and money). Whether the speaker 130 Chapter IV is a supporter or a critic of the war, they both rely on the BUSINESS conceptual metaphor and obscure the distinction between the cost on life and
cost on equipment and money, as if there were no difference in quality
between loss of life and loss of money. Such uses contribute to the blurring of the distinction between metaphorical and literal, which leads to the
bleaching and dangerous generalisation of meaning, as a result of which
word meaning can be stretched ad infinitum, so that Underhill’s (2003)
switch of meaning can become possible. If we consider that much of politics is acted out in w...
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