Main image
25th March
written by Sean Noble

The Obama administration has decided that it doesn’t like the phrase “global war on terror” and has instructed its folks to refer to it as the “long war” or “overseas contingency operation.”

The Obama administration appears to be backing away from the phrase “global war on terror,” a signature rhetorical legacy of its predecessor.

In a memo e-mailed this week to Pentagon staff members, the Defense Department’s office of security review noted that “this administration prefers to avoid using the term ‘Long War’ or ‘Global War on Terror’ [GWOT.] Please use ‘Overseas Contingency Operation.’ ”

This is dangerous.  Words have meaning, and by refusing to call the global war on terror what it is, we put our nation and our citizens (especially those overseas) at risk.  As I had commented a couple weeks ago when Secretary Napolitano didn’t use the words “terror” or “terrorism” in her first appearance on Capitol Hill, this refusal to address the real threat we face will come at a price, and that price may be pretty high.

Now is not the time to back down on this effort.  Too much is at stake.

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Frankie

    You can’t fight a war against “terror.” You could make an argument that you can fight against “terrorISM” but not terror. And didn’t you hear that the President is sending more troops to Afghanistan? I don’t think he is surrendering the fight against extremists in any way. How is changing what we’re calling it making us any less safe? Is our military now weaker? Have the marines gone soft? I don’t think so.

  2. Elle

    “Terror” v. “Terrorism” is a technicality, Frankie. It’s just splitting hairs, and the Obama Administration is not shying away from it because it wants to be more grammatically accurate. It is trying to be more polite- mean old Bush was so rude to those poor terrorists. Sean is right; it’s dangerous.

  3. 25/03/2009

    I think that all the arguments in favor of “terror/ism” are tired old claims whose only purpose is to continue US occupations overseas (which has been a waste of time and American blood for far too long). There may well come a time when the people of America, long tired of layoffs and foreclosures, will demand that the US armed forces defend America on American soil and not in Germany, England, Iraq, Japan and South Korea. In short a foreign policy of freedom.

  4. Thomas Grier

    I smell a Ron Paul supporter

  5. Counter-Terrorist

    Be more careful in your reading, Sean — the memo says “long war” is to be avoided, and you say they’ve instructed folks to use that term.

    Also, keep in mind that terror is a method, not an enemy. “War on Terror,” as a phrase, is just politics. (Not that Overseas Contingency Operation is much better…)

  6. […] I was disturbed by her willingness to call conservatives “terrorists” while at the same time refusing to call members of Al-Queda terrorists – or to even use the words terror or terrorism.  That, I said, […]

Leave a Reply