Time to end ‘Global War on Terror’ phrase?
April 17, 2007
RAF MILDENHALL, England — Is it time to put an end to the “Global War on Terror?”
In a speech, a prominent British politician on Monday was planning to echo calls from U.S. House Armed Services Committee staff member to eschew phrases such as “global war on terrorism.”
An internal memo from the committee, made public two weeks ago, advised authors to keep the term “global war on terrorism” out of the 2008 defense budget authorization bill.
But to some people who are preparing to fight in the “global war,” it doesn’t really matter what you call it.
Members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade — who soon will deploy for a 15-month stint in Afghanistan — didn’t see the need to focus on changing the name.
“I don’t think it’s that big a deal,” said Pvt. Johnathan Blanton, 21, of 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment. “I’m just tired of President Bush using it. It seems he says it every time you turn on the TV.”
Another private, who declined to be identified, added, “What are they worried about the name for? They should be worried about the soldiers and not names … (but) it’s not global. We ain’t in Australia, are we?”
But 2nd Lt. Caleb Wells, 23, saw sense in leaving the term as it is.
“Islamic extremism seems to be all over, we’re fighting it, and the term is focused on terrorists.”
When told that some Democrats in the U.S. Congress want to cite specific locations when referring to military actions, such as “the conflict in Iraq,” or “the conflict in Afghanistan,” Wells said he saw a link between them.
“It’s all about Islamic extremism,” he said.
The House Armed Services Committee’s internal memo — dated March 27 — came as part of the “style guide” for the authorization bill.
The memo directed committee staff to avoid colloquialisms such as “the war on terrorism,” “Long War” and “global war on terrorism,” according to a copy of the memo posted on the Fox News Web site.
The memo urges staffers to use more specific terms in the report, such the “war in Iraq,” the “war in Afghanistan,” or “ongoing military operations throughout the world.”
British Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn was expected to tell a think tank in New York on Monday that military efforts following the Sept. 11 attacks don’t constitute a “global war,” and that people in the United Kingdom don’t use the phrase.
Benn’s comments are scheduled to be part of a speech titled, “Where does development fit in foreign policy?” centered on the use of multilateralism “as the only answer to achieving peace,” according to a release issued by Benn’s office.
Meanwhile, since the initial memo became public a week ago, an updated version of the memo was drafted with that terminology section revised, according to Fox News.
The memo drew fire from some Republicans and the scorn of at least one former Marine.
“So, what in the world am I to do with the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal I was awarded for my service in Iraq?” Brian Bresnahan, a former Marine major, wrote on his blog, “High Plains Patriot.”
“If the war doesn’t exist, should the medal also not exist?”