Democrats End Global War on Terror

House Democrats have issued an edict ending the Global War on Terror.

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.”

“There was no political intent in doing this,” said a Democratic aide who asked not to be identified. “We were just trying to avoid catch phrases.”

[…]

“You have to wonder if this means that we have to rename the GWOT,” said a Republican aide, referring to the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medals established in 2003 for service members involved, directly and indirectly, in military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world. “If you are a reader of the Harry Potter books, you might describe this as the war that must not be named,” said another Republican aide. That is a reference to the fact that the villain in the Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort, is often referred to as “he who must not be named” because of fears of his dark wizardry.

Global War on Terror Service MedalWhile “Global War on Terror” is a rather silly and imprecise name, it’s not within Congress’ prerogative to dictate what words executive branch officials employ. If the want to take away the ability of committee staffers to use shorthand language in Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal policy papers, that’s fine; it’s not going to have any impact on what the White House or soldiers in the field are calling it.

The GWOT medals aren’t Congress’ call, either. They were established by Executive Order on March 12, 2003.

via Soren Dayton

FILED UNDER: Congress, Military Affairs, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Ah, yes.
    What did I say the other day about NPIN being what gets said, or not, creating impressions?

    What do you suppose the Democrats want to do, here, hmmm?

  2. The Sandbox says:

    Global War On Terror Finally Over…

    Well, in name at least: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…

  3. I actually have some sympathy for the democrat’s position here. Specifically calling out missions could help keep the parasitic funding from getting out of control. But while I have sympathy for their position, I distrust their motive behind taking that position.

    Perhaps they will embrace their new found passion for eschewing cliche and espousing precision in their speech by referring to their goal in Iraq as retreat or ‘run away’.

  4. John Burgess says:

    GWOT may not be the best phraseology available, but it avoids the real problem of focusing on trees when the forest is the issue.

    Pure politics is the way I see this clownish act. ‘Never let the other guy frame the discussion’, even at the cost of reality.

  5. Tlaloc says:

    While “Global War on Terror” is a rather silly and imprecise name, it’s not within Congress’ prerogative to dictate what words executive branch officials employ.

    Were they trying to? The quote says:

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

    The budget is Congress’ domain. The president draws up what he’d like but it is congress that has total control over what he gets.

    The GWOT medals aren’t Congress’ call, either. They were established by Executive Order on March 12, 2003.

    You are falling for a distraction. Notice that the dems said nothing about the medals at all. That was entirely a republican smoke screen.

  6. Tlaloc says:

    Pure politics is the way I see this clownish act. ‘Never let the other guy frame the discussion’, even at the cost of reality.

    The GWOT is not reality. It is a catch phrase with no real meaning seeing as we are very friendly with a nuimber of terrorists and terrorist regimes. What we should have is an operation (not a war) to get al qaeda. This doesn’t need, and shouldn’t have, a media name since it should be done by the spooks and undercover law enforcement.

  7. carpeicthus says:

    Good for them.

    BTW, doing one thing doesn’t mean they’re not doing other stuff. Seems to be fallacy day here.

  8. jpe says:

    Congress won’t use stupid buzz words. That’s a good thing.