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The War on the War on Terror

10:16 AM, Apr 4, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Military Times reports that the House Armed Services Committee has banned the phrases "global war on terror" and "the long war" from all official budget documents.

This isn't the first effort to rebrand the war on terror. The August 8, 2005 issue of The Scrapbook detailed an earlier attempt by elements within the Bush administration to use the term "global struggle against violent extremism":

Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he "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." The solution, he said, will be "more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military"--i.e., not part of my job description.

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was similarly "on message": "It is more than just a military war on terror," he said. "It's broader than that. It's a global struggle against extremism. We need to dispute both the gloomy vision and offer a positive alternative." (Since when is winning a war a gloomy vision?) . . .

Indeed the disturbing thing about this fascination with rebranding the war on terror is that it, if we may say, came at a time when a resurgent Taliban is stepping up its activities in Afghanistan, al Qaeda bombers are running amok in London, and tourist hotels are being blown up in Egypt. This is self-evidently not a great time to shift from a "Global War on Terror" to a "Long Struggle to Portray Americans as Good People Who Don't Hate Muslims and Respect Religions All Over the World Even as We Try to Dismantle the Networks of Ideological Extremists Who at the Very Least Disagree With Us and May Want to Do Us Harm." Or whatever.