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Thread: "Global War On Terror" Is Given New Name

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    "Global War On Terror" Is Given New Name

    'Global War On Terror' Is Given New Name
    Bush's Phrase Is Out, Pentagon Says

    (Gold9472: A "clue" that this war is going to go on for a LONG time. They're more interested in reselling the "war on terror" than they are in stopping it.)

    By Scott Wilson and Al Kamen
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Wednesday, March 25, 2009; Page A04

    The Obama administration appears to be backing away from the phrase "global war on terror," a signature rhetorical legacy of its predecessor.

    In a memo e-mailed this week to Pentagon staff members, the Defense Department's office of security review noted that "this administration prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' [GWOT.] Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation.' "

    The memo said the direction came from the Office of Management and Budget, the executive-branch agency that reviews the public testimony of administration officials before it is delivered.

    Not so, said Kenneth Baer, an OMB spokesman.

    "There was no memo, no guidance," Baer said yesterday. "This is the opinion of a career civil servant."

    Coincidentally or not, senior administration officials had been publicly using the phrase "overseas contingency operations" in a war context for roughly a month before the e-mail was sent.

    Peter Orszag, the OMB director, turned to it Feb. 26 when discussing Obama's budget proposal at a news conference: "The budget shows the combined cost of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and any other overseas contingency operations that may be necessary."

    And in congressional testimony last week, Craig W. Duehring, assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower, said, "Key battlefield monetary incentives has allowed the Air Force to meet the demands of overseas contingency operations even as requirements continue to grow."

    Monday's Pentagon e-mail was prompted by congressional testimony that Lt. Gen. John W. Bergman, head of the Marine Forces Reserve, intends to give today. The memo advised Pentagon personnel to "please pass this onto your speechwriters and try to catch this change before statements make it to OMB."

    Baer said, "I have no reason to believe that ['global war on terror'] would be stricken" from future congressional testimony.

    The Bush administration adopted the phrase soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to capture the scope of the threat it perceived and the military operations that would be required to confront it.

    In an address to Congress nine days after the attacks, President George W. Bush said, "Our war on terror will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated."

    But critics abroad and at home, including some within the U.S. military, said the terminology mischaracterized the nature of the enemy and its abilities. Some military officers said, for example, that classifying al-Qaeda and other anti-American militant groups as part of a single movement overstated their strength.

    Early in Bush's second term, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld promoted a change in wording to "global struggle against violent extremism," or GSAVE. Bush rejected the shift and never softened his position that "global war" accurately describes the conflict that the United States is fighting.

    Last month, the International Commission of Jurists urged the Obama administration to drop the phrase "war on terror." The commission said the term had given the Bush administration "spurious justification to a range of human rights and humanitarian law violations," including detention practices and interrogation methods that the International Committee of the Red Cross has described as torture.

    John A. Nagl, the former Army officer who helped write the military's latest counterinsurgency field manual, said the phrase "was enormously unfortunate because I think it pulled together disparate organizations and insurgencies."

    "Our strategy should be to divide and conquer rather than make of enemies more than they are," said Nagl, now president of the Center for a New American Security, a defense policy think tank in Washington. "We are facing a number of different insurgencies around the globe -- some have local causes, some of them are transnational. Viewing them all through one lens distorts the picture and magnifies the enemy."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Obama administration says goodbye to 'war on terror'
    US defence department confirms use of the bureaucratic phrase 'overseas contingency operations'

    Oliver Burkeman in Washington, Wednesday 25 March 2009 17.40 GMT

    The war on terror, George Bush once declared, "will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated". But Barack Obama's administration, it appears, has ended it rather more discreetly - via email.

    A message sent recently to senior Pentagon staff explains that "this administration prefers to avoid using the term Long War or Global War On Terror (Gwot) ... please pass this on to your speechwriters". Instead, they have been asked to use a bureaucratic phrase that could hardly be further from the fiery rhetoric of the months immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The global war on terror is dead; long live "overseas contingency operations".

    Rumours of the imminent demise of the war on terror had been circulating for some time, and some key officials have been mentioning "overseas contingency operations" for weeks. The US defence department email, obtained by the Washington Post, seems to confirm the shift, although the Office of Management and Budget, which reviews the public testimony of administration personnel in advance, denied reports that it had ordered an across-the-board change in language.

    Tony Blair was an avid supporter of Bush's terminology - "whatever the technical or legal issues about a declaration of war, the fact is we are at war with terrorism", he once said - but experts came to agree that the phrase was unhelpful.

    A war on terror was too broad ever to be won, they argued, while defining not a group or ideology but a type of violence as the enemy was incoherent.

    Even Donald Rumsfeld, one of the war's architects, tried in vain to persuade Bush to rebrand it the "global struggle against violent extremism", or GSave. Writing in the Guardian in January, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, said it had been a mistake that may have caused "more harm than good".

    Since taking office, Obama has taken several concrete steps to shift direction, ordering the closure of Guantanamo Bay and the CIA's secret prisons, and moving to end harsh interrogation practices.

    "Declaring war on a method of violence was like declaring war on amphibious warfare," said Jeffrey Record, a strategy expert at the US military's Air War College in Alabama.

    "Also, it suggested that there was a military solution, and that we were at war with all practitioners of terrorism, whether they threatened American interests or not. 'War' is very much overused here in the United States - on crime, drugs, poverty. Everything has to be a war. We would have been much smarter to approach terrorism as the Europeans do, as a criminal activity."

    But he was not enthusiastic about the replacement term. "I'm not sure it means much of anything," he said. "And I'm not sure we're going to make any great progress by replacing one unfortunate term with another."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    No ban on 'global war on terror': US officials


    President Barack Obama's administration denied Wednesday dropping the punchy but controversial phrase "global war on terror" for the less snappy formulation "overseas contingency operation."

    There is no administration-wide edict from the White House Office of Management and Budget mandating the name change, as claimed in a Washington Post report, officials said.

    "I sometimes am amused by things that I read in the press. I am not aware of any communication that I've had on that topic," OMB director Peter Orszag told reporters.

    According to the newspaper, the OMB had directed the Pentagon to drop the name coined by president George W. Bush for his battle against extremism after the September 11 attacks of 2001.

    For critics, the phrase "global war on terror" was emblematic of an approach that was dangerously broad-brushed and which risked alienating the Islamic world.

    Its formal omission would be consistent with the Obama administration's reversal of key Bush policies, including ending the war in Iraq and shutting down the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

    The Post said the new name favored by the OMB was the less evocative but more neutral "overseas contingency operation" -- a phrase that has indeed featured in recent congressional testimony by top officials.

    OMB spokesman Ken Baer said there was no official edict, only a "communication by a mid-level career civil servant" to the Pentagon giving the bureaucrat's preference to drop the war on terror tag.

    Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said he had "never received such a directive" and said "perhaps somebody within OMB may have been a little over-exuberant."

    "I'm the one who speaks publicly about these matters, and I have never been told which words to use or not to use. So I don't think there's anything to the story," he said.

    "Overseas contingency operation" was in fact a budgetary term to describe the Obama administration's funding priorities, Morrell said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Clinton: 'War on terror' not in our vocabulary
    Obama administration dropping phrase used as rallying cry by Bush

    updated 6:37 p.m. ET, Mon., March. 30, 2009

    THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The phrase "global war on terror" is finished, at least as far as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is concerned.

    The top U.S. diplomat told reporters Tuesday that the Obama administration has quit using that line to describe the effort to fight terrorism around the world.

    "The administration has stopped using the phrase and I think that speaks for itself," Clinton said.

    Clinton spoke as she headed to Europe for a week of diplomatic meetings. The phrase "war on terror" is widely disliked in Europe and elsewhere overseas, where even close U.S. allies suggested it was overly militaristic and perhaps counterproductive.

    It is also now associated with a range of Bush administration policies such as harsh interrogation practices that President Barack Obama has pledged to abandon.

    Clinton was asked about the phrase as she headed to Europe for a week of diplomatic meetings.

    Pundits have noted the absence of the "war on terror" language, but top administration figures have had little to say on the subject before now.

    "I haven't heard it used. I haven't gotten any directive about using it or not using it, it's just not being used," Clinton said.

    Then-President George W. Bush used the phrase as a rallying cry after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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