July 26, 2005

An end to "The War on Terror."

The term, that is.
The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission, senior administration and military officials said Monday.

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.
It did? Because of the word "war"? So now we're supposed to switch to "global struggle"? Please. "Global struggle against violent extremism" is the new term? It's just a verbose translation.

Will it make some people feel better about the Administration's efforts? I see they are also trying to make moms feel better about boot camp. Is there some new Director of Soothed Feelings?

IN THE COMMENTS: The connotations of "struggle" are weighed.

21 comments:

EddieP said...

PC Crap! How about Mein Kerfluffle?

Ann Althouse said...

Eddie: That's my first association for "struggle" too.

Timothy K. Morris said...

How about "World War III?" Or for those who believe the Cold War was WWIII, World War IV?

Meade said...

This paragraph struck me as sensible:

Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, said in an interview that if the nation's efforts were limited to "protecting the homeland and attacking and disrupting terrorist networks, you're on a treadmill that is likely to get faster and faster with time." The key to "ultimately winning the war," he said, "is addressing the ideological part of the war that deals with how the terrorists recruit and indoctrinate new terrorists."

What we need now is for someone in Hollywood to update Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" series.

Nick said...

Interesting word...

I could be wrong here, but don't most Muslims say that Jihad accurately translates to "holy struggle"?

And doesn't Mein Kampf actually translate to "My Struggle"? I'm sure the Bush=Hitler crowd is going to go crazy with that one.

Lord... I'm starting to sound like Wonkette with wild associations.

Ann Althouse said...

Nick: "Jihad" gets translated with "struggle," "striving," "exertion" as part of the definition. And this was my second association with the word "struggle."

Sloanasaurus said...

Why not call it a global crusade instead of a struggle....

Dean Esmay said...

I've never liked the term "war on terror" because it sounds like "war on fear," and that sounds ridiculous. So I'm perfectly happy to see them looking for something better.

I wish they'd just call it a war against fascism, since that's what it is--whether it's secular Ba'athist fascism or religious lunatic fascism as represented by bin Laden, it's still ultimately fascism.

Kenny H. said...

If this is no longer a "war on terror," does that mean the administration can no longer hold people indefinitely without charges? I'm not sure, but I thought part of the argument that we could do that was because we are in a war and those people are "enemy combatants."

Ann Althouse said...

Dean: I agree with you. I always say "War on Terrorism."

Ann Althouse said...

Kenny H: excellent point!

StrangerInTheseParts said...

"Is there some new Director of Soothed Feelings?"

I thought that's what they're bringing Karen Hughes back for - to come up with PR to 'improve the US's image abroad'.

Ann Althouse said...

Stranger: Oh, yeah, she's mentioned in the article! So I guess she's the "Director of Soothed Feelings." Really great that they're doing something for the women.

Al Maviva said...

My vote for a new name for the GWOT goes to:

"ApdancingTay RoundAy the LamacistIsay OblemPray."

DirtCrashr said...

Maybe they're trying to co-opt the Left's Marxist-talk where there's always the workers struggle or some struggle of the oppressed proletariat.
In German I always understood Kampf directly in first useage as Fight then; Combat, Battle, Conflict, and later Struggle and Strife.
If by trying to address the ideological part of the war that deals with how the terrorists recruit and indoctrinate - it almost sounds like they're trying to address the opposite numbers - how to increase recruits on this side and erode the terrorists' base. It seems to me that Americans and other Westerners tend to respond better to the language of Soldier/War, than to Workers/Struggle - that has more typically been the un-disciplined Socialist-speak aimed at creating an uprising of the masses - enemy combatants in an insurgency.
The Middle Eastern Baathist-fascists modeled themselves structurally on (and used the rhetorical stylings of) Stalin, not particularly Hitler (he just provided the Kill-All-Jews model/message), and that's where you get the Marxist-sounding "struggle of the Oppressed Whoosis against Big Blah-Blah-Blah" - like that which you hear at all the Left-wing rallies, and heard during the equally noxious Iranian "revolution."

gs said...

The new term probably was developed by committee.

DirtCrashr: Like you said, except maybe the similarity to leftist cant isn't intentional. Maybe this is the kind of slogan which a bureaucracy produces.

The new name has the cadence of something out of the Cultural Revolution (hopefully the War on Terror will turn out better): 'Forward Together in the Global Struggle against Violent Extremism!'. I can almost visualize the posters...

When I tuned in Bush's speech at the 2000 convention, I perceived authoritarian undertones which made me uneasy. (So I listened to Gore and omigod...!) My unease has continued throughout his presidency, and this current choice of terminology does not reduce it.

CM said...

Whenever there's a debate about which words to use, everyone complains that it's "PC crap."

But words are important. The "war on terror" is not a war in the traditional sense, meaning (among other things) there is a defined enemy and we have an achievable goal, at which point we can say the war is over and discuss peace conditions. So I think the "global struggle" is more accurate.

Because a war has a beginning and an end, we accept expanded powers for government and a decrease in civil liberties for citizens. Because we know they're temporary. There are various connotations of "war" that don't necessarily apply to a "global struggle."

Steve S said...

Dirtcrashr - that was my first association too. Except I put it together with fighting against kulaks and landowners. Which presented a problem, as kulaks were basically a figment of Stalin's imagination. But I also like the parallels of one part of society trying to rid itself of bad elements. Only in this case, it is an inverse parallel, as instead of having Reds slaughtering moderates of conservatives, we have moderate Muslims (and the West) trying overcome radicalism.

knoxgirl said...

"war against fascism" gets my vote.

Either that or WWIII.

PatCA said...

Inching..Closer...To...The...Truth.

War on Fascism or New Fasicm works for me.

amba said...

"Struggle" sounds commie-pinko-New Left to me. "Adelante, hermanas, en la lucha!" As Dirtcrashr said.

Figuring out that "struggle" means "jihad" (and Mein Kampf) is like how it hit me the other day that all this talk about the two parties' strategy of "playing to the base" . . . well, "the base" translates as "Al Qaeda."

I'd link to my post on that, but it makes me feel like a slut.