Thomas Paikeday t.paikeday at SYMPATICO.CA
Tue Sep 25 02:39:26 UTC 2001

Besides Muslims, I think even practising Catholics like me would be
taken aback by Bush's use of "infinite." It smacks of infinite

Idiomatically, as we know, "infinite" primarily goes with nouns like
"being, compassion, knowledge, love, mercy, perfection, wisdom," etc.,
all of which refer to the Almighty.

Secondarily, "infinite" (in the sense of "unlimited") is used to modify
nouns like "detail, number, patience, possibilities, range, variety,"

In technical usage, they speak of "infinite baffles, gas valves, heat
settings," etc. Compare also the use of the word in mathematics, music,
and grammar.

I get the impression that Bush and Co. blamed Islamic teachings as an
easy escape from a situation that is messy not only theologically but
also idiomatically. But there is no denying the speech, whoever wrote
it, was superb.

> It has been noted that the White House or the Pentagon (whichever) backed
> away from "Infinite Justice" when it was pointed out that Islam teaches that
> such is only from Allah.  You would have hoped that they had picked up on
> that before issuing the code word, but at least they changed their minds
> quickly.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list