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May 2018
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Aerden [userpic]

I read this article at the Military Times website regarding a memo by the Staff Director of the Congressional Armed Services Committee instructing that the phrase 'global war on terror' should not be used in the 2008 defense budget bill or its accompanying report. Instead, phrases such as 'the war in Iraq,' 'the war in Afghanistan' and so forth should be used. 'Global war on terror' is described as a colloquialism in the memo.

On one hand, I like the idea of more exact phrasing. If you're talking about activities in Iraq or Afghanistan or Africa specifically, then yes, let's be precise as to what we mean.

But I don't like the way that the reason for the war is being expunged from the bill's language. How is anyone to know why we're fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere if we don't mention in the bill and its report that terrorists, their organizations, and the states which fund their activities, are the enemy?

I think there needs to be at least some mention that we are fighting a global war on terrorism in the defense budget bill and not just vague 'wars' for no explained reason.


It's a marketing issue. The "War On Terror" is no longer an effective brand name, for a lot of reasons--counter-marketing by Democrats, public fatigue, and the ongoing series of homegrown fiascos coming out of the war zone, amone others. "War On Terror" sounded good in 2001, and it work to turn the national emotion over 9/11 into political capital; now it conjures up the very thing you're talking about, vague wars for no clear reason, with American troops dying and American officials screwing up and no end in sight. It's bound up the current negative mood of the country, so it's little wonder the politicians are running from it.

I imagine both parties are working on new brand names right now, so they're ready to roll out for the presidential campaign. The Republicans will be looking for something that makes the current situation sound inspirational and coherent again, while the Democrats will be looking for a frame that manages to be (or at least look) tough on defense but still incorporate massive troop withdrawals.