Talk:Cut and run

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Someone has removed an illustration of usage (quote):

As such, the phrase can be used to good effect as follows:

ADVOCATE: I believe we should withdraw our troops from Iraq because our objective, deposing Saddam, has been achieved and because our original rationale, that he possessed WMD, has proved to be unfounded.

OPPONENT: Hoo hooo! Dude, I can't believe that you would want to stoop so low as to cut and run!

(endquote) and marked the article as of poor quality. Removing the quote lowers the quality and it's unclear to me what is wrong with it. It contrasts a straightforward argument with simple name calling, a major feature of our political discourse today.

When President Bush said in the 2004 election campaign "We're not going to cut and run," he was intentionally insinuating that his opponent was a coward, unlike himself. But to include such examples in an illustration of the term introduces personalities, implications, and levels of complexity which simply muddy the water. Is it relevant that Bush was AWOL during his national guard duty, and that he used family connections to get a non-combat role in the guard in order to escape the draft during the Vietnam war?

Or maybe the lowlife character of the opponent is objectionable. Let's try it with some upper class type:

OPPONENT: My dear fellow, it is plain to see that you fail to grasp the complexities of today's world. What you advocate is to, ahem, cut and run.


Or maybe contemporary usage of the phrase is too controversial to be discussed in today's politically charged atmosphere. I don't get it. Torquemada2 21:16, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

As it is, this article is probably better suited to Wiktionary, since it's just a phrase and its definition, with an example of usage. I don't think there's going to be enough substance here to make this more than a stub. Whether it's here or in Wiktionary, though, examples of usage should be real, not concocted. If you have other questions, just let me know! | Klaw ¡digame! 22:33, 14 December 2005 (UTC)
Writing that Washington might have been called "Old Cut and Run" is nonsense. If you want to use an example of the phrase in common parlance, find an article where the term was used and put that in. Sentences with "might have" in them are generally discouraged on Wikipedia as weasel words.| Klaw ¡digame! 23:29, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Yikes! By the definition we are talking about a pejorative phrase. In an attempt at clarity, let's take up some up some other pejorative word, say nigger, and argue by analogy. For the record, I state I have no special agenda against black people, some other ethnic group could have been used.

If person A refers to a black person B as a nigger and it is intended in a pejorative sense it means A identifies B as a black person and also that A has some sort of ill will towards B. Let's say Person C also identifies B as a black person but has no ill will. The difference between A and C is that one has ill will and the other doesn't. B is the same throughout. It is simply a subjective judgement by A.

Back to cut and run. Let's consider Nixon. At the end of the Vietnam war Nixon unquestionably withdrew. The final days could be considered a debacle and a betrayal, with people trying to get on helicopters. Or it might be argued that Nixon did the best he could under the circumstances. I ask you: Did Nixon cut and run? Torquemada2 05:29, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Torquemada, I find your example completely offensive. You certainly could have picked a word or phrase that wasn't so vile.
I don't see the point of your question. I haven't proposed we delete this article - not yet, anyway - but I'm saying it needs to be improved by including something substantive. Arguments about whether this thing or that thing qualify as "cutting and running" don't help. Put in some verifiable facts about the phrase cut and run - when it first appeared, examples of its use by writers or speakers (real examples, not ones you made up), etc. Otherwise, this article is just a dictionary definition, and this phrase is already in Wiktionary [1]. | Klaw ¡digame! 05:44, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Let me take the question of historical versus invented examples. Did you ever sign up for a math class? Just about all the examples are non-historical in nature.

Suppose person X walks at an average rate of 2 miles an hour. How long would it take X to walk from A to B, a distance of 8.5 miles?

The point here is to understand the concept of average rate of speed. Nothing is added by selecting particular towns for A and B.

Similarly in linguistics. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language [2] 1779 pages, a landmark book in English grammar has numerous invented examples on just about every page.

Quoting from page 662, selected at random:

Prepositions and adverbs

Prepositions are items which are often formally identical with and semantically similar to adverbs. Compare the following pairs:

  • 1. She looked up the hill.
  • 1a. She looked up the word.
  • 2. She walked across the street.

Both up in (1) and across in (2) are prepositions with prepositional complement (up the hill, across the street). However, in (1a), up is an adverb particle in a phrasal verb look up with, for example, positional mobility. Compare:

  • 1b. She looked the word up.
  • 2b. She walked the street across. (wrong)

And so forth. You seem to be arguing that this landmark work is defective from beginning to end.

Now let's examine the Wiktionary entry for cut and run (which has a made up example for illustration, I note.) To abandon a position as quickly as possible. The entry fails to mention any pejorative sense. President Bush used this phrase repeatedly in the 2004 election campaign precisely because it had a pejorative connotation. He did so because it was an indirect way of casting scorn on his opponent.

The reason I'm going to so much trouble here is because I would like to clarify this pejorative aspect of the phrase. If we are going to fight wars leaving tens of thousands of people dead, I think it would be well to have a clear understanding of what we are doing and why we are doing it. The pejorative aspect of this phrase is a hidden emotional appeal intended to undermine clear thinking.

Let's return to the case of Nixon. Nixon withdrew from Vietnam, no question. If person X says "Nixon cut and ran from Vietnam," person X is saying Nixon withdrew (a neutral term not carrying heavy emotional weight) and he is also saying "I scorn Nixon for doing so (and so should you.)" If person X says instead "Nixon withdrew from Vietnam, the objective facts about Vietnam remain the same.

In the case of Vietnam the country was divided as to whether to withdraw or to fight on. So it is a common occurrence to find someone who believes Nixon deserves scorn for this withdrawal and someone else who doesn't believe so.

In the case of Washington, who, in 1776, retreated from Long Island to Manhattan and so on all the way to Pennsylvania, Americans don't usually don't think of Washing as deserving scorn for this. But others might, like the British. It is not "nonsense" to observe that people may be divided as to whether Washington deserves scorn. It's not a burning question now, but it is widely known that in the revolutionary period there were plenty of people heaping scorn on Washington.

Concerning the word nigger. I chose this example precisely because it is offensive. There is clearly something wrong with this. And it is my claim that the phrase cut and run falls in the same category, a pejorative term that is offensive when it is used to bamboozle people regarding the conduct of wars. Note that one must understand the term pejorative in order to be able to understand the claim. Torquemada2 17:51, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

That's all irrelevant. Can you turn this into an actual encyclopedia article or not? As I see it, it's a dictionary definition and should be deleted per WP:NOT. | Klaw ¡digame! 18:04, 15 December 2005 (UTC)


Thanks for the welcome.

Regarding Congressman Murtha, why is giving information about him pushing a point of view? He's just been called a coward on the floor of congress and someone unfamiliar with his case might think "Well I guess it's so." It seems entirely relevant to indicate that the man is a retired marine with combat experience in two wars. And his proposal isn't to abandon Iraq to the wind, it's to create a rapid reaction force "over the horizon."

And it goes to the point of the article in illustrating a case of unjustified scorn being heaped on someone. Otherwise what is the point of including Congresswoman Schmidt's remarks, that such a phrase had currency in November 2005? Torquemada2 17:25, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I owe you an apology on this one - I meant to leave a note here on the talk page about my deletion, then realized I was late for something, and didn't do so. To your question, I think a link to Murtha's name in the quote is more than sufficient for people who want background. You're calling Schmidt's remarks "unjustified scorn," and that's POV. Plenty of people feel the scorn is justified. Neither they nor you are right about it, because it's a matter of opinion. Let the quote stand on its own as an example of the usage of "cut and run," which it does very nicely (I tip my hat to you on that one - excellent choice). But leave it to the reader to interpret the connotations of the phrase in that context. Does that make sense? | Klaw ¡digame! 18:47, 21 December 2005 (UTC)



    • Last item of discussion is 1 year old.
    • Article is short, mild but informative enough.
    • From a controversy perspective it makes little sense to have much more information whatever side you're on (if pejorative why increase the coverage?).
      • If needed create an entry "cut and run controversy", "cut and run in America 21st century politics", "Bushism,", "Bush controversies","Iraq my foot", etc..whatever you like to call it.
  • Conclusions: Dont see the point to keep it tagged. If required,use a more precise tag.
  • Googling: Wikipedia ref. appears in position 3 and 4.

Dilane 00:54, 25 December 2006 (UTC)