I consider myself to be relatively savvy when it comes to trying to decode the twisted language that so frequently emanates from the nation's capitol. But there is one recent circumstance that had me perplexed. Why won't most Washington elites admit that a coup took place in Egypt recently? (In the past week or so, Sen. John McCain came under a lot of political fire for using the words coup and Egypt in the same sentence.)
Because we Americans tend to be lazy, the use of the word coup is shorthand for the French phrase coup détat. A coup détat is a sudden and decisive action in politics, esp. one resulting in a change of government illegally or by force. The Egyptian military ousted that nation's democratically-elected president. By definition, that's a coup détat. (It doesn't matter if you agree with the military's action since President Morsi was behaving in a very nondemocratic manner.)
Even though a coup took place in Egypt recently, the Obama administration and most members of Congress have referred to this action as anything but a coup. The reason they steadfastly refuse to call a coup a coup is that it has specific economic ramifications. As pointed out by L. Reichard White on the Antiwar blog,
According to The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the U.S. Government must suspend aid, particularly military aid, to any country suffering a military coup. (Sec. 508).
You see, when it comes to the prospect of depriving the military-intelligence-industrial complex of even a few pennies on the dollar, the ruling elites suffer severe conniption fits. They are more than willing to bastardize the English language to keep those taxpayer dollars flowing. In this case, even though the duck IS a duck, they can't call it that, lest they break one of their own laws. So, they've decided to call the duck a goose...even though everyone knows that it is (wink, wink) a duck.