Actually, I think he slipped and called it the "surge" once.
This was interesting to me, since I had been listening to Frank Luntz's appearance on the show the week before (RealAudio here).
Luntz, one of the architects of the Contract With America, and more recently, progenitor of the terms "Death Tax" and "Global Climate Change," is an evil genius when it comes to the use of language, with equal parts of evil and genius. (The title of his new book is "Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear.")
Of course, most of the rationalizations behind his rebranding efforts are contorted and intellectually dishonest, but damn, the phraseology is effective.
I think his achievements in the fields of linguistic doubletalk, newspeak and euphemism are only surpassed by that unknown and unsung Hasbro marketing guy who came up with the term "action figure" for dolls for boys. (Dolls. They're DOLLS. Dolls with guns, maybe, but they're dolls. Genius!)
Luntz hates the term "surge," preferring something more bloodless like "restructuring" or "reassessment", so perhaps it's a false dichotomy. But he should be flattered. Or something.
I notice that the use of the term escalation was also in full effect in an ad that was run locally during the Super Bowl; it features vets against the surge/escalation, it's run by VoteVets.org, and it's on YouTube -- the ending is a little shocking:Yes, the injured vet is indicating "on the other hand" -- the pro-surge/escalation viewpoint -- by gesturing with his stump.
Makes waving the bloody shirt pale in comparison.