What's In a Name?

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First, the new Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, told a German news outlet that "man caused disasters" is the new term for "terrorism".

I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word "terrorism," I referred to "man-caused" disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.

Yesterday, the Washington Post dropped this nugget about a war of words between the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget over how we refer to the War on Terror.

"Recently, in a LtGen [John] Bergman, USMC, statement for the 25 March
[congressional] hearing, OMB required that the following change be made before going to the Hill," Dave Riedel, of the Office of Security Review, wrote in an e-mail. "OMB says: 'This Administration prefers to avoid using the term "Long War" or "Global War on Terror" [GWOT]. Please use "Overseas Contingency Operation.'"

Now you're going to be hard pressed to find an administration more aware of the power of words than President Obama's...after all, he got elected using only two of them. This isn't just a move toward "political correctness"; this is a calculated public relations move and the opening salvo in the battle to change the way Americans view terrorism. It's not just a nuance.

Personally, I've never been in love with the phrases "global war on terror" or "war on terror". They're cumbersome, and although I'm no grammar nazi you can't wage a war against "terror", only "terrorists". On the flip side I've always liked the term "the Long War" because I feel it's perfectly descriptive of what we're engaged in and will continue to be engaged in for coming generations (not just decades, generations.)

"Overseas contingency operation", besides being overly bureaucratic, doesn't describe anything at all, really. A college kid trekking across Europe and trying to bang as many Swiss girls as he can in two weeks is engaged in an "overseas contingency operation" (and a worthy one, but you get my point.)

Never has a more public relations aware administration held the office, and the Democrats as a rule have always held a heavy PR hand over the DoD when they're in charge. We'd have probably rescued the Iranian hostages if President Carter wasn't so risk adverse to killing Iranians to do it because of the press it would have gotten. PR is why we beat a hasty withdrawal from Somalia after the Battle of Mogadishu in '93. It's never about how effective we are in combat with the lefties, it's about what headlines get in the paper a week later with these people.

It's no longer allowable to a large portion of the American population to kill our nation's enemies, and in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks this simply boggles my mind.

An entire generation of now elderly Americans were so completely galvanized by the Pearl Harbor attack that even today, 60+ years later, they can not only recount to you where they were and what they were doing that day, they can recall the emotion of it. Think about that. These people did not get the graphic images we were all privvy to on the fateful morning of 11 September 2001; they got their news at best through a radio, and more often than not through word of mouth and the newspapers. They didn't get to see images of the attack until days later, at best. And yet, that single instance became a point of resolve for an entire nation that has lasted with that generation of people for 6 decades. Ask any of those folks today whether they think the war on Japan and killing in defense of this nation was justified and see what sort of response you get.

To a logical mind, the attacks on 9/11 should have completely overtaken the memory of Pearl Harbor in the collective conscience: after all, the Pearl Harbor attack was at least on a military installation, and an act of war against the U.S. military and not intentionally targeting American civilians. The 9/11 attacks should have welded this nation's resolve into a single, unquestionable iron will like absolutely nothing in the history of this nation has. Today, a mere 7 1/2 years later, the opposite seems to have happened. The resolve of the nation as a whole to kill its enemies is weakening further still, and the Obama administration sees an opening here.

We will lose this war (and it is a war, not an overseas contingency operation) if this continues. Weakness in the face of overwhelming evil is always answered with more evil. If history has taught the human race anything, it is that. We must not shun from calling a terrorist a terrorist, we must not shun from calling a war a war, and we must not shun from killing our nation's enemies if we want to remain a nation of free men and women. This war of words is only the beginning of what portends to be a disastrous turn for our nation.

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