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Where have all the dead-enders gone?

Posted by Dhm on May 23, 2004

Shortly after the Coalition of the Willing overran Iraq, pockets of resistance persisted in Baghdad and elsewhere in that country. When referring to these insurgents, Rumsfeld, Bush and others in the US Defense establishment would commonly dismiss them as dead-enders and thugs. The term "dead-enders" (which is not heard much nowadays for some reason) always struck me as being a bit off the mark. The image I involuntarily call to mind is that of the Dead End Kids of the 1930's and 40's who made a lot of B movies for Hollywood. You know who I mean... Leo Gorsey, Huntz Hall, Bobby Blake.. dose guys. It made me smile to think of the new dead-enders fighting against the US Army wearing jeans with the cuffs rolled up, T-shirts, vests, and those crazy hats with the brim cut into a crown. I got over it.

Anyway, does anyone else think that "dead-enders" was ill-suited for the task? It seems to me that the phrase they really wanted was "bitter-enders", as in a soldier who will ask no quarter and give none, who will fight to the bitter end.

And why have they stopped saying "dead-enders"?