We all have words or phrases that raise those little hairs on the back of the neck.
The one that has bothered me–ever since I first heard it–is “on the ground” (as in, “…the situation on the ground…“; or, “…if you talk to the people on the ground…“). I think the term originated, in part, because foreign countries and cultures have become progressively more abstract to Americans (extensive travel not withstanding). (“Exhibit A,” of course, would be President Bush, who feels “protected by the oceans,” and didn’t know the names of foreign leaders before hitting the briefing books.)
There’s a nice, surpisingly simple application at cockeyed.com that makes Baghdad feel more familiar. Basically, it allows you to compare it with different American cities by mapping them side-by-side. When I first saw this utility, I thought it was a little mundane. If you play around with it, though, you can’t help but begin to relate to Baghdad in more physical terms.
Click HERE for the utility.