Semantics & The War On Terror
Top officials of the Bush administration have changed the way that they talk about terrorism. They have stopped speaking of a “war on terrorism.” Thinking it too narrowly defined, they now talk of a “struggle against global extremism.”
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld calls it a “global struggle against the enemies of freedom, the enemies of civilization.”
Folks on both the left & the right are seeing this as not merely semantics but rather as "a clear-headed redefinition of America’s long-range strategic aims", as Fox News puts it.
Now, the War on Terror has just as quickly become a Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. In the words of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Meyers, "if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution?. [The solution] is more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military." Sound familiar? During the 2004 presidential election, John Kerry was lampooned by the right for arguing that the War on Terror must be fought with diplomacy and intelligence, as much as with the military. The truth is that the old War on Terror became a War for Terror, fueling the flames of what we all wanted contained.
It's just semantics, folks. I'll post a quote (again) from Bush's September 20, 2001 address to the nation:
Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.
This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.
Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism.
The President has been remarkably consistent on this. I don't think our strategy is changing, we're just making it more clear to those who read or hear the word "War" and can only think of one definition for it. It's not failed strategy, but rather a lack of imagination that drove this decision.
Posted by at August 3, 2005 12:35 PM
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|# August 5th, 2005 10:11 AM marcus|
|Some idiotarian was quoted on Green Bay's WTAQ today about the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing.
The usual pap about diplomacy to solve problems.
The WOT like any other war involves diplomacy, economics, ideology, and naked violence. All are needed and any one without the others is ineffective.
No, violence alone will not put an end to terrorism, but diplomacy alone is even more ineffective.
Ike's job in WWII was much more than directing soldiers. It was in large part diplomatic and it was in large part political.