August 3, 2005

It's the "war on terror" again.

That effort to rebrand the "war on terror" as the "global struggle against violent extremism" is over:
In a speech here, Mr. Bush used the phrase "war on terror" no less than five times. Not once did he refer to the "global struggle against violent extremism," the wording consciously adopted by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials in recent weeks after internal deliberations about the best way to communicate how the United States views the challenge it is facing.

Good. I didn't like the change. But how embarrassing to change and then change back.

17 comments:

Drethelin said...

I am not a fan of the phrasing of war on terror, but the change was even worse. the war is not on terror, or terrorism, it is against terrorists, and specifically violent and insane terrorists.

miklos rosza said...

i'm glad they changed back. in any case, everyone knows what is meant.

Michael J. Totten said...

The old name is terrible. The new name is even worse. It's good that we're back to merely terrible.

Lars said...

Maybe they should have tried an acronym for "global struggle against violent extremism", GSAVE. Naah, that sux too.

Pedro said...

So...did Bush flip-flop or is he just intelligently nuanced?

Goesh said...

- they only want us, our children and our way of life dead, dead, dead - what the hell difference does it make what we call the intent? It is like saying a man was shot to death, then debating whether or not he was actually gunned down. Sheesh!

Ann Althouse said...

Goesh -- I think we already did that on the Vincent post.

Charles said...

No one learned a thing. You work out the cool and pronounceable acronym word first, then make the title fit that acronym. Only the ultra-intelligent or the ultra-foolish (nuanced there) make some mouthful of gibberish and then wonder why people laugh at the abbreviation.

Goesh said...

one "dead" would have sufficed I suppose - I long too much for the days before Bush when there was no insurrection, or spiritual mandate, against our way of life. Call me a dreamer if you want, I don't care.

SippicanCottage said...

It's amazing really, how inarticulate George Bush is.

His father was worse, of course.

Eisenhower was obscure, and liked talking in military lingo and phraseology, which sounds like gobbletygook to the outsider, but he wasn't inarticulate, really.

Coolidge was an elegant writer, but tightlipped. Taciturn is not inarticulate.

But George really can't express himself well at all. This "what to call our war kerfluffle," is another manifestation of it, I think.

All that being said, I think he's one of the most accomplished administrators I've ever seen. I can't understand why people who disagree with him think he's stupid. To be a politician, and be unable to talk, disqualifies him somehow.

To George, all words are hammers. He has nothing flowerey to say. He acts. This is foreign to the striped pants set, but he says what he's going to do, and does it.

To people accustomed to hearing politicians say one thing while watching them do another, and the minute calculation and predictions of what a politician might do after he's done talking ragtime, he's mystifying, I guess.

Shame on the Republicans that voted for him thinking the Compassionate Conservative thing was a dodge, and hoped he'd be a slasher, and were surprised to find him doggedly pursuing No Child Left Behind and so forth, and shame on his Democrat detractors for praying his audacious attempt to civilize the mideast fails, because they can't stand him.

And triple shame on the knuckleheads in the White House who tried to put these words in his mouth. They just fall out, and clang to the floor anyway. Let him say what he thinks, as best he can, and vote for or against him, as you will.

And if you oppose him, hope he succeeds anyway. It's the American thing to do. I didn't want Kosovo to fail because I didn't vote for Clinton.

Gerry said...

I doubt it is a coincidence that the translation of the word Jihad is struggle, and struggle was the key word in the newfangled name.

Bruce Hayden said...

I like "War on Terror". Yes, it wasn't really accurate. But it was catchy.

I really don't know how best to describe where we are right now. The problems with "war on Islamic Extremism" are that it alienates some much needed allies, and doesn't include N. Korea.

But then, the Axis of Evil has always been a weird collection of states that weren't getting along with. Sure, Iran and Iraq were actively involved in backing terrorism, but N. Korea was just oppressing its people, developing nuclear weapons, and selling arms to whomever it could.

On the other hand, Iran really didn't fit because it doesn't oppress its people nearly as much as many other countries in this world. (Kenneth Pollack in his new book "The Persian Puzzle" suggests that the Iranian inclusion was to round the Axis out to the requisite three, and, was a strategic mistake).

"Global Struggle against Violent Extremism" fails as a slogan for a number of reasons. A "global struggle" is much less compelling than a "War". And what really is "Violent Extremism" anyway?

Add to that that neither Iran nor N. Korea really qualify for "violent extremism". Rather, the violent extremists are the terrorists in Iraq and the bombers in the UK.

Bruce Hayden said...

Maybe the answer is to appropriate the word "Jihad". Maybe, "Jihad against violent reactionary Islam". Or "Jihad against Muslims refusing to leave the 14th Century".

Gerry said...

Bruce- exactly what I was getting at.

Joseph Angier said...

I must have missed something. Has the Bush team ever expressed any thought where any form of the word 'embarrass' might possibly be used?

Jack said...

I'm not sure I see why they should be embarrassed. Everyone makes mistakes. Smart people fix them. And you can hardly fault them for trying to find a more precise description with all the flak they've gotten from people who share Michael J. Totten's option.

Jack said...

"Jack" is more common a name than I thought when I signed up for Blogger with 3 years ago...

But that is neither here nor there.

As I write continually on my own weblog, there is more to the "Global War on Terror" or the "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism" or whatever you want to term the conflict of the current generation than is discussed publicly, by the administration, politicians of all stripes and parties, or even bloggers of different political persuasion...

Sadly, even in the Brave New World being carved by bloggers, the complexities inherent in the real world are lost in the easy simplicities of "good" and "evil", the definitions of which are malleable dependent upon the position within the limited political spectrum available in the US allows for any blogger to place themselves before the flame-fest begins.

So, the "branding change" provided me with an ephemeral hope that the complexities that need to be understood to win this conflict were recognized by an administration that has shown nothing but loathing for admission of any errors.

And here we are now, back where we started.

Is this really a way to win?