Huffpost Homepage

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Thomas de Zengotita Headshot

They can't give up "The War on Terror"

Posted: Updated:

George Packer's piece in The New Yorker this week just made it official for those of us who pay attention to this sort of thing. For some reason, it seemed, the Bush administration was backing off the slogan they've been using to market the Iraq war since the WMD rationale collapsed. Instead of "The War on Terror" various honchos (including Rumsfeld!) were starting to call it something like "The Global Struggle Against Extremist Islamic Ideology." The suspicion among sceptical observers was that this was the beginning of a campaign to reframe the whole business so that, when we sneak out of Iraq under the gratifying guise of leaving it up to them get off their butts and fight for their own country, we won't be losing a battle in a war because there isn't a war -- there's a hearts and minds "struggle." I've been predicting this outcome for a while now, so this all made sense to me.

But Dubya knew better. He squashed that bug fast. He used "The War on Terror" slogan very pointedly in practically every other sentence of a short speech he gave before heading off to Crawford. Why? It's simple. Try to picture the title banner that whooshes into place every time Fox reports on Iraq reading "The Struggle against Extremist Islamic Ideology" instead of "War on Terror." Just try to picture that.

Back to the drawing board...