Antony Beevor

Diary - 5 April 2003

The renowned historian explains that the closest parallel to Iraq's future could be Yugoslavia not Stalingrad

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I used to be amused and appalled by the Pentagon-speak which developed during the Vietnam war. But now the almost Stalinist euphemisms and aggressive acronyms have given way to a less extreme form - a military version of corporate-speak. Perhaps this is Donald Rumsfeld's influence. The new form of allied blitzkrieg is termed Rapid Decisive Operations. A few years ago, it would have been Rod or Raid. But these terminological subtleties make little difference to the grunt on the ground: he is just trying to cope with the shock of war. 'You go through all that training,' said one American the other day after coming under fire for the first time. 'You know you are in Iraq, but until you hear bullets and see those tracers, you don't think any of it is real. I can remember thinking,