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Fightin' Words: What's the Polite Way to Say "War on Terror"?

Fightin' Words: What's the Polite Way to Say "War on Terror"?

"An enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism." (Wordy!) "Go after." (Bush-esque.) "Ongoing struggle." (Lacks confidence.) "Win this fight." (Aggressive?) "Twilight struggle." (Sad, geriatric.)

President Obama's national-security team has been brainstorming a more precise (or nice?) phrase to describe the war on terror. What's the problem, besides the uncomfortable word "war?" Terrorism is a tactic, not an identifiable enemy, and it's considered inaccurate because it cannot be won by military means alone. In the parlance of Nancy Reagan's war on drugs, it's like saying the "war on syringes."

The White House says there's no official ban on the mutual use of those three words, but President Obama has only uttered them once (in a speech to the State Department) since inauguration. One administration official admitted they were looking for something a little more hopeful.

Considering the phrase "war on terror" is thought to have rallied terrorists, even President Bush shied away from it in the end. To find out what alternatives Bush used,


Bush turned to the "war against violent extremists" in the final years of his presidency, which surely assuaged all the "violent extremists" out there. At least he never tried to call it "My Struggle."

But that wasn't the first attempt the Bush administration made on the war on terror's livelihood. The State and Defense Departments tried to rename it the "Struggle Against Violent Extremism," otherwise known as SAVE. And Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Department officially adopted the acronym GWOT for the "Global War on Terror." Not surprisingly, the media never latched onto any of these, and until it does the "war on terror" it is.

What a struggle! (Which, BTW, I nominate.)


ashopaholic ashopaholic 8 years
LMAO, I find this hilarious. This is a brilliant move on Obama's part where it will look like he is "changing" something and making progress when he really isn't. How does this further reconstruction efforts and strategy in the two regions exactly? This is just away to distract people from the fact the Obama really has no clear plan for place of conflict and he is just biding for time. And plus last time I checked most of Obama's initiatives regarding this war fell in line with the Bush doctrine. (JMO)
snarkypants snarkypants 8 years
this is pretty dumb if you ask me. but can we at least change it to "war on terrorism"? at least that way we're not fighting fear, but actual terrorists.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 8 years
I know. Our Excuse to Fight on Foreign Soil.
Myst Myst 8 years
I'm with Mich.
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
Oh my lord. A whole story about freakin' WORDS?
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
agreed, Mich!
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Agree, Mich is on the right track.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Mich I could not agree more!
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
stephley stephley 8 years
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
*applause* Mich!
Michelann Michelann 8 years
I think instead of re-evaluating the name, we need to re-evaluate what exactly we're trying to accomplish. If we can find a sound, achievable goal, perhaps a good name will follow.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
UD, good choices! I'm on board.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I vote for UDs choices.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
How about "War on Al Qaeda and the Taliban" or "War on extremist Muslims who want to destroy the Western way of life"?
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
I'm not going to rack my brain to come up with a better phrase. What we have is fine.
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