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Author Topic: Obama administration says goodbye to 'war on terror'  (Read 3308 times)
Koen
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« on: 25 March 2009, 21:55:39 »
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/25/obama-war-terror-overseas-contingency-operations


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The war on terror, George Bush once declared, "will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated". But Barack Obama's administration, it appears, has ended it rather more discreetly - via email.

A message sent recently to senior Pentagon staff explains that "this administration prefers to avoid using the term Long War or Global War On Terror (Gwot) ... please pass this on to your speechwriters". Instead, they have been asked to use a bureaucratic phrase that could hardly be further from the fiery rhetoric of the months immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The global war on terror is dead; long live "overseas contingency operations".

Rumours of the imminent demise of the war on terror had been circulating for some time, and some key officials have been mentioning "overseas contingency operations" for weeks. The US defence department email, obtained by the Washington Post, seems to confirm the shift, although the Office of Management and Budget, which reviews the public testimony of administration personnel in advance, denied reports that it had ordered an across-the-board change in language.

Tony Blair was an avid supporter of Bush's terminology - "whatever the technical or legal issues about a declaration of war, the fact is we are at war with terrorism", he once said - but experts came to agree that the phrase was unhelpful.

A war on terror was too broad ever to be won, they argued, while defining not a group or ideology but a type of violence as the enemy was incoherent.

Even Donald Rumsfeld, one of the war's architects, tried in vain to persuade Bush to rebrand it the "global struggle against violent extremism", or GSave. Writing in the Guardian in January, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, said it had been a mistake that may have caused "more harm than good".

Since taking office, Obama has taken several concrete steps to shift direction, ordering the closure of Guantanamo Bay and the CIA's secret prisons, and moving to end harsh interrogation practices.

"Declaring war on a method of violence was like declaring war on amphibious warfare," said Jeffrey Record, a strategy expert at the US military's Air War College in Alabama.

"Also, it suggested that there was a military solution, and that we were at war with all practitioners of terrorism, whether they threatened American interests or not. 'War' is very much overused here in the United States - on crime, drugs, poverty. Everything has to be a war. We would have been much smarter to approach terrorism as the Europeans do, as a criminal activity."

But he was not enthusiastic about the replacement term. "I'm not sure it means much of anything," he said. "And I'm not sure we're going to make any great progress by replacing one unfortunate term with another."

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the_13th_redneck
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« Reply #1 on: 28 October 2009, 19:03:54 »
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War on Terror is very much like the War on Crime.
It is a continuous process.
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Mad Russian
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« Reply #2 on: 28 October 2009, 20:53:13 »
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It's also a never ending process.

Good Hunting.

MR
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Tanker
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« Reply #3 on: 28 October 2009, 22:51:42 »
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It is a catchy title though.
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FACman
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« Reply #4 on: 28 October 2009, 23:41:28 »
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Like the ill named & executed 'War on Drugs', it is indeed a never ending conflict. There shall always be some 'misunderstood' fringe group with little real power, who will resort to the equally useless and ineffective 'bombers' to vent their frustrations on the remainder of the world.
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Mad Russian
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« Reply #5 on: 29 October 2009, 00:59:22 »
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Governments are soley for the purpose of protecting their citizens from the threats within and the threats from outside.

If there are no actual threats the government must manufacture some. What better way to get the citizens to support it than have it become a war. The worst of all social events devised by man.

Good Hunting.

MR
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Tanker
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« Reply #6 on: 29 October 2009, 01:10:03 »
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Sounds quite conspiratorial Steve.  Do you doubt there is a war against us?  I don't think the government manufactured the events of 9-11.  That is the event that gave rise to the ill named, to some, War on Terror.  I don't have any problem supporting the government preventing a re-occurrence.  I think they've done a pretty good job of that so far.
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MontyB
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« Reply #7 on: 29 October 2009, 03:33:45 »
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Sounds quite conspiratorial Steve.  Do you doubt there is a war against us?  I don't think the government manufactured the events of 9-11.  That is the event that gave rise to the ill named, to some, War on Terror.  I don't have any problem supporting the government preventing a re-occurrence.  I think they've done a pretty good job of that so far.


They may not have manufactured the events of 9/11 but they (governments world wide) have taken the opportunity to exaggerate the threat that terrorism posed to the free/developed world.  For most of the world terrorism is little more than a criminal act and perfectly containable by existing law enforcement.

As far as doing a good job at preventing attacks go can you tell me the number of successful attacks you had before 9/11?
I can recall 1 (that wasn't domestic terrorism) and it killed less than the city road toll for the day therefore it is a little disingenuous to claim success in preventing attacks when there was no history of attacks prior to the event.
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We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation. ~Francois De La Rochefoucauld
Mad Russian
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« Reply #8 on: 29 October 2009, 06:13:29 »
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Sounds quite conspiratorial Steve.  Do you doubt there is a war against us?  I don't think the government manufactured the events of 9-11.  That is the event that gave rise to the ill named, to some, War on Terror.  I don't have any problem supporting the government preventing a re-occurrence.  I think they've done a pretty good job of that so far.


Oh no, the war on terror is real. We were at war with Al-Qaeda is real. Things like the war on cancer, the war on drugs, the war on illiteracy, the war on.....fill in the blank.....
are threats from within. Threats from without are like the war on terror.

A government must have some ongoing protective measures for it's citizens or what is it's purpose? Why all the taxes, etc., if there is no threat from some sector of the social/political/medical/environmental elements that constitute how a political entity (government) operates.

Why else the big pushes on the issues of global warming, nationalization, health care reform, and all the other issues that governments come up with to justify their own existence?  Without a cause for the government to protect us from we don't need them. Politicians aren't stupid. There is always a threat that we must be protected against. If there's not they manufacture one like global warming.

That's not conspiracy theory. Those are government 101 facts.

Good Hunting.

MR
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Mad Russian
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« Reply #9 on: 29 October 2009, 06:21:10 »
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Sounds quite conspiratorial Steve.  Do you doubt there is a war against us?  I don't think the government manufactured the events of 9-11.  That is the event that gave rise to the ill named, to some, War on Terror.  I don't have any problem supporting the government preventing a re-occurrence.  I think they've done a pretty good job of that so far.


They may not have manufactured the events of 9/11 but they (governments world wide) have taken the opportunity to exaggerate the threat that terrorism posed to the free/developed world.  For most of the world terrorism is little more than a criminal act and perfectly containable by existing law enforcement.

As far as doing a good job at preventing attacks go can you tell me the number of successful attacks you had before 9/11?
I can recall 1 (that wasn't domestic terrorism) and it killed less than the city road toll for the day therefore it is a little disingenuous to claim success in preventing attacks when there was no history of attacks prior to the event.



Al-Qaeda declared war on the United States while Clinton was President. He just ignored them as a non-issue. I guess he had other things occupying his thought processes at the time.

The idea that, since they never made it work before, there's no real threat now just because they made it work  once, should have held Japan in good stead, concerning the use of more nuclear weapons by the US in WWII.

I mean, the US just used two of them is all, there's no history to show that they can do it again. Or that the US even would use more. Japan at least was smarter than that. We better be smarter than that now as well.

The World Trade Center was the target of Al-Qaeda more than once. They kept trying until they got it right. If you watch the news you'll notice that almost all the plots, that are caught before hand, are in fact home grown Islamic fundamentalists living here in the US. They aren't coming from overseas.

To think that, just because, they've not yet been successful on the scale of 9-11 that there is no threat, is a bit too trusting from where I sit.

Good Hunting.

MR
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MontyB
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« Reply #10 on: 29 October 2009, 08:28:56 »
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The reason it was ignored by Clinton (which is a little inaccurate) is that militarily they are no threat to anyone.

The simple reality is that 9/11 could have been prevented had law enforcement followed rules they already had in place but no GWB and the boys needed a replacement for the cold war and now we have 8 years of fighting for next to no gain and countless thousands of dead as a result.

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« Reply #11 on: 29 October 2009, 16:23:22 »
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So Monty you don't believe terrorism is a threat that law enforcement can't handle?  I think Al-Queda and the Talaban can be classified as terrorists and enablers of terrorists.  If they are successful in taking over Pakistan (certainly not impossible) and gaining access to nuclear material we all have a problem.  I don't think that Al Queda havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan are police problems.

And I'll tell you what.  It was not GWB and his "boys" alone that wished to smash the perpetrators of 9-11, it was most of this country that felt that way.  I suppose we could have sent some more cruise missile and a police squad to arrest them. After all it was little more than a criminal act.  I'm happy President Bush decided to attack the Talaban in Afghanistan.  I think that was the right decision, given the circumstances. 

I'm not saying that the only answer to terrorism is a military one but to equate international terrorism to a criminal gang is, to use your term, disingenuous.
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Tanker
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« Reply #12 on: 29 October 2009, 16:29:58 »
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The reason it was ignored by Clinton (which is a little inaccurate) is that militarily they are no threat to anyone.



If you mean an existential threat I might agree, for the time being.  I have a hard time describing the attack on the USS Cole and the attacks on the US embassies in Africa and the first attack on the World Trade Center as anything other than military attacks.  I think it's a mistake to view combating terrorism as strictly a police problem.  That was the mistake taken by the Clinton administration.
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