Saturday, March 28, 2009

Obama Scraps 'Global War on Terror' for 'Overseas Contingency Operation'

So, no more of President Bush's "war on terror". It was a stupid phrase, saying that we had a war against extreme fear. But it was effective, helping to bestow on Bush the status of a wartime president and leading him to claim extraordinary executive powers, such as engaging in illegal wiretapping. And the phrase persevered even as the Iraq invasion devolved into an occupation.

The proposed new phrase, "overseas contingency operation", is not a whole lot better. What contingency, a hurricane? Running out of fuel? A hooker strike in Amsterdam?

Admittedly, it is difficult to find the best words for our current course. If it's described as a war against extremism, or radical Islamists, we may offend the moslem world. And it is not wise to call it a war. We need a word such as the Cold War's "containment" Best I can come up with is "Operation Global Security". But not "securitization".