Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Call It Something Else?

From the New York Times:

The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission, senior administration and military officials said Monday.

In recent speeches and news conferences, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the nation’s senior military officer have spoken of “a global struggle against violent extremism” rather than “the global war on terror,” which had been the catchphrase of choice. Administration officials say that phrase may have outlived its usefulness, because it focused attention solely, and incorrectly, on the military campaign.

Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the National Press Club on Monday that he had “objected to the use of the term ‘war on terrorism’ before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution.” He said the threat instead should be defined as violent extremists, with the recognition that “terror is the method they use.”

Although the military is heavily engaged in the mission now, he said, future efforts require “all instruments of our national power, all instruments of the international communities’ national power.” The solution is “more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military,” he concluded.

In other words, the same approach but a new name. I’m glad to know where some of our defense spending is going: to focus groups to find out what sells better. (“Vietnam” was already taken.)

Now with this new cognomen, I wonder if this “global war on violent extremism” will be expanded to include people who bomb abortion clinics, the Minutemen, or the Neo-Nazis in rural Idaho. Well, let’s not get carried away…