I recent wrote about the power of words; how they can hurt or mislead people. I was writing about Paula Deen’s use of the n-word and the word “cracker” from the Zimmerman trial. The word that tops the news now is “coup,” referring to the military takeover in Egypt. The Obama administration has not called it a coup because there is a law that says the US will not support any coup. If the takeover in Egypt is a coup, then the administration must withhold a great deal of promised aid money from Egypt.
I looked up the definition of the word coup in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It defines coup, or more correctly,
coup d'état, as a French word that means the sudden deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to depose the extant government and replace it with another body, civil or military. In French, the word "État", denoting a sovereign political entity, is capitalized. Tactically, a coup occurs when a small group (the Egyptian military) either capture or expel the politico-military leaders (Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood), and seize control of key government offices, communications media (TV & radio stations controlled by the Brotherhood), and infrastructure.
It goes on to talk about a "democratic coup d'état", which "responds to a popular uprising against an authoritarian or totalitarian regime and topples that regime for the limited purpose of holding the free and fair elections of civilian leaders.” Of course, the Morsi regime was an elected government, not an authoritarian government. We may have to change the definition of a democratic coup.
So let’s review; a coup is a:
1) sudden deposition of a government
2) by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military
3) to depose the government and replace it with another
4) that captures or expels the politico-military leaders
5) and seizes control of the country's key government offices, communications media (TV stations controlled by the Brotherhood), and infrastructure.
I think the current situation in Egypt fits the definition of a coup. I may be a "democratic coup d'état.” Let’s hope that it is democratic and that elections are held soon. The Obama administration calling it anything else doesn’t make sense. You can't circumvent the law by calling a coup by a different name. As we used to say, “I if it quakes like a duck....” Well, you know the rest.