New Name. Same Aim.
It looks like the global “war” on terrorism is now a global “struggle”:
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.
I welcome this change because I think the idea of it being called a war has been an excuse for many to treat it as such. In my mind it’s simply not the same, and I’m glad the Joint Chiefs of Staff agrees. Because would people really be okay with a “war” that goes on for 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years?
True, this is an indefinite struggle that must be fought, but we may never see any clear victory. The new terminology readies the world for this reality and that’s important.
One side note. Could this positioning modification also point to the end of the U.S. invading entire countries suspected of harboring terrorists and WMDs? If we’re no longer calling it a war, will it be that much harder for the Administration, or subsequent Administrations, to declare war on a rogue state?
(Hat Tip: New York Times)