'Global War On Terror' Is Given New Name
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post
Posted: April 5th, 2009
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.' " Senior administration officials had been publicly using the phrase "overseas contingency operations" in a war context for roughly a month before the e-mail was sent. The Bush administration adopted the phrase ["Global War on Terror"] soon after the Sept. 11, 2001. But critics abroad and at home, including some within the U.S. military, said the terminology mischaracterized the nature of the enemy and its abilities. Some military officers said, for example, that classifying al-Qaeda and other anti-American militant groups as part of a single movement overstated their strength. Last month, the International Commission of Jurists urged the Obama administration to drop the phrase "war on terror." The commission said the term had given the Bush administration "spurious justification to a range of human rights and humanitarian law violations," including detention practices and interrogation methods that the International Committee of the Red Cross has described as torture.