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A War By Any Other Name

excerpts from a report by Juliette Kayyem. July 28, 2005

It was President Bush himself who insisted on calling it a global war on terror. He wanted to indicate that this was not just another piddling law enforcement action, but an all-out, full-scale military response to Sept. 11 that would involve U.S. troops around the globe.

"A war between good and evil," he called it. A war "to save the world."

But now, apparently, a decision has been made that the language of war isn't working for him anymore. So in recent days, the "global war on terror" — which had been conveniently shortened to GWOT in bureaucrat-speak — has been shelved in favor of the "global struggle against violent extremism."

The White House should be prepared for the possibility that its new catchphrase — the global struggle against violent extremism — may not bring the same benefits that GWOT once did. Does it reflect a change in policy? Or just a change in rhetoric?

War, struggle, fight, effort, whatever — we still don't seem to be describing the smooth intelligence operation; the tough law enforcement; the suave, cooperative diplomacy; the delicate nation-building and vigilant homeland security that is needed to complement our military prowess. If administration officials put as much effort into getting these jobs done as they apparently put into rethinking their talking points, perhaps we'd have some real success in this global, uh, endeavor. And what we call it would matter a lot less.

You have been reading excerpts from "A war by any other name" by Juliette Kayyem. You can read the entire piece here: tinyurl.com/bbmf7. Thanks to The LATimes.com. Maybe journalism in America isn't dead after all.

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