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White House Replaces 'War on Terror' with Symbol

03/25/2009 06:03 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The White House announced today that it would no longer use the phrase "war on terror" and would instead replace it with a cryptic symbol once used by the funk rocker known as Prince.

The new symbol made its first appearance today at a White House press conference in which spokesman Robert Gibbs answered a question about the war on terror by holding up a picture of the newly acquired icon.

Mr. Gibbs said that the White House had decided to replace the phrase with the symbol after determining that its first-choice euphemism, "overseas contingency operations," was too much of a mouthful.

"In the years that Prince used the symbol, it was totally confusing and no one knew what it meant," he said. "It should work perfectly for us."

To acquire the rights to the symbol, however, the White House had to outbid an unlikely suitor, the insurance giant AIG.

The embattled company, which recently stripped its corporate headquarters of its logo in the hopes of throwing protesters off its scent, had intended to replace it with the mysterious icon coveted by the White House.

It was hoping to rebrand itself as "The Insurance Giant Formerly Known as AIG," a company spokesman said.

AIG Chairman Edward Liddy was philosophical about being outbid by the White House for Prince's symbol: "All of our efforts were a total and abject failure, but on the plus side, that means we're entitled to a bonus."

Andy Borowitz is a comedian and writer whose work appears in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and at his award-winning humor site, BorowitzReport.com. He is performing at the 92nd St. Y on April 30 at 8 PM with special guests Judy Gold, Hendrik Hertzberg, and Jonathan Alter. For tickets, go to 92y.org.