Regime Change

Thu May 17 21:54:32 UTC 2007

        The OED has 1990 for the euphemistic use of "regime change."
(The non-euphemistic use goes back to 1925.)  Here's earlier, from the
Houston Chronicle (via Westlaw), 2/20/1987:  "In mid-August last year,
the president signed a National Security Decision Directive (NSDD)
stating that he still sought a "regime change" in Libya, and directed
the CIA to conduct a campaign of "disinformation" to make Gadhafi think
that he was about to be attacked again by the United States or ousted by
his closest aides."

        The August 1986 National Security Decision Directive on Libya
presumably would be earlier still, but I haven't seen it.

John Baker

The American Dialect Society -

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