While the Union Jack and Stars and Stripes are on the same side in the gulf war, the British are fighting against a country that sounds like "Eer-awk" while Americans are bombing "I-rackies."
"This war, run by the Americans and (more to the point) largely broadcast by them, is blowing breaches in the redoubt of our language and our pronunciation of it," Simon Heffer harrumphed in Saturday's editions of The Daily Telegraph."Whatever damage the U.S. military is doing to the Iraqis, the violence it wreaks on the English language goes further and deeper," Raymond Whittaker complained in The Independent.
Heffer beefed about television reporters talking of "lootenants" instead of properly British "leftenants," of "missels" instead of "miss-aisles," of Patriot missiles beginning "pate" instead of "pat."
"Perhaps the most boggling usage encountered so far," Heffer added, "was uttered by an American military technical expert who, when the missile attacks began on Tel Aviv and Riyadh, was discussing `an-tie missel missels' with an American interviewer.
"Neither batted any eyelid when, in mentioning the `I-racky' capability of dealing with `Paytriot missels,' the expert ruled out the possibility of any `I-racky an-tie an-tie missel missel missels.' "
The Sunday Times offered a glossary of combat slang including the recently famous Americanism, "hellacious."
The word sounded fresh-minted to the British when Marine Lt. Col. Cliff Myers used it to describe the fighting around Khafji. It's been around so long in America, though, that it's included in Webster's dictionary, meaning "very great, bad, unbearable."
The Sunday Times gave a more circular definition: "American description of conditions during the battle for Khafji."