Naming It– House Democrats Won’t

As I’ve emphasized in this blog, one must identify and name the problem (islamo-fascism) and the enemy (islamo-fascists) in order to develop a coherent strategy (media, education, diplomatic, military, special ops, etc.) to defeat it. But again we find that some refuse to even acknowledge the global nature of this conflict.  They won’t call it the “War on terror” and certainly not the more accurate– “War against Islamo-fascism”.  James Taranto writes in about this “9/10” thinking style:


…A story in the Military Times gives a window into the strategic thinking–or lack thereof–of the Democrats who now control the House:

The House Armed Services Committee is banishing the global war on terror from the 2008 defense budget.

This is not because the war has been won, lost or even called off, but because the committee’s Democratic leadership doesn’t like the phrase.

A memo for the committee staff, circulated March 27, says the 2008 bill and its accompanying explanatory report that will set defense policy should be specific about military operations and “avoid using colloquialisms.”

The “global war on terror,” a phrase first used by President Bush shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., should not be used, according to the memo. Also banned is the phrase the “long war,” which military officials began using last year as a way of acknowledging that military operations against terrorist states and organizations would not be wrapped up in a few years.

Committee staff members are told in the memo to use specific references to specific operations instead of the Bush administration’s catch phrases. The memo, written by Staff Director Erin Conaton, provides examples of acceptable phrases, such as “the war in Iraq,” the “war in Afghanistan, “operations in the Horn of Africa” or “ongoing military operations throughout the world.”

A Republican aide quips, “If you are a reader of the Harry Potter books, you might describe this as the war that must not be named.” …

There are valid reasons to quibble with the phrase “global war on terror”–primarily the last word, which focuses on the enemy’s tactical approach rather than on its identity, ideology and strategic goals.

What the Democrats object to, however, is the idea that it is a “global war.” In particular, they are trying to sell the fantasy that Iraq is a discrete problem with no relation to any broader conflict–so that surrendering in Iraq would have no deleterious consequences for U.S. national security.

It would be nice for Americans (albeit brutal for Iraqis) if the U.S. could simply cut its losses and abandon Iraq. But it seems to us there is far more wisdom in the holistic approach of the “global war.” America has failed to engage its enemies, or tactically retreated when the going got tough, repeatedly since Vietnam: Iran in 1979, Lebanon in 1983, Iraq in 1991, Somalia in 1993.

There is ample reason to think that these shows of weakness–or, more precisely, of irresoluteness–emboldened America’s enemies. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, provided strong–at the time, seemingly irrefutable–evidence that taking the easy way out did not enhance American national security.

America seems dangerously close to a tipping point: a return to the 9/10 mindset that led to 9/11. It may be that President Bush’s steadfastness is the only thing standing in the way, and that his departure from the scene in January 2009 will leave a more timid America.


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