Monday, March 30, 2009

No More "War on Terror" - Officially?

"Obama team drops 'war on terror' rhetoric"
Reuters (March 30, 2009)

"THE HAGUE (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday the Obama administration had dropped "war on terror" from its lexicon, rhetoric former President George W. Bush used to justify many of his actions.

" 'The (Obama) administration has stopped using the phrase and I think that speaks for itself. Obviously,' Clinton told reporters traveling with her to The Hague for a conference on Afghanistan, which Bush called part of his "global war on terror.'..."

That's the gist of the article, and all the others I read.

I believe it. President Obama promised change: and dropping a divisive term like "war on terror" is certainly a change.

I'm quite confident that President Obama's administration will be much nicer, more conciliatory, open, understanding, and caring than the "diabolical" George W. Bush's administration was.

Words, Actions, and Common Sense

I am one of those people who are convinced that words have meanings, and that it matters: what words are used.

Clinton and Obama notwithstanding, I'm keeping the name of this blog: on the practical side, it'd be a big fuss to start with a new name, and you might have trouble finding this blog; on the philosophical side, I think it's a mistake to pretend that a war isn't a war.

What's going on now, between outfits like Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and everyone they don't approve of - the West included - is a war. It's not like the wars that were fought in Aristotle's time, or the conflicts of the twentieth century, but it's still a war. Even if only one side admits it.
'Defense Department'?!
If I remember correctly, America had a 'United States Department of War' from its very early years, until 1947. Then, since 'war was no longer possible,' as a character in a sixties show (Ironside, I think), it became the 'Department of Defense.'

I think that giving the Department of War a 'nicer' name may have been a mistake. It's true, the American department of war's purpose is to defend America. But, in their own way, that's a function of the State Department, and all the other federal departments.

The 'Department of Defense' defends America by being prepared to wage war: and, on occasion, waging war. That's not nice, I'll agree: but this world isn't particularly nice. And, like it or not, we all live in the real world.
No More "War on Terror"?
Maybe the Obama administration has a grand plan for preventing religious maniacs from doing a re-play of the 9/11 attack. I sincerely hope so.

I also hope that President Obama does not believe that the leaders of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and like-minded people, will stop being mean if America stops being mean. There's very little evidence to support the notion that, deep down inside, Osama bin Laden is a nice guy who just wants to get along.

More-or-less related posts: News and Views:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.