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Yvonne R. Davis

Yvonne R. Davis

Posted April 6, 2009 | 11:43 AM (EST)

The Term "Man Caused Disasters" Sounds Weak, but the "War on Terror" Has Always Been Weaker


"The 'war on terror' has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world." --Zbigniew Brzezinski

Republican Clerics are at it again. This time they are really mad about the Obama Administration ditching the oxy moronic "War on Terror, Global War on Terrorism" terminology to describe the United States' efforts to protect the "Homeland" to fight terrorism around the world.

How can the United States have a war on tactics used in warfare? There are over 100 definitions for the word "Terrorism." The multiplicity of the definitions indicates there is a problem with properly defining what terrorism actually is; thus to have a war on it is problematic.

United States International law defines Terrorism as, "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents." A possible reason why the Obama Administration stopped using the "War on Terror" or "Global War on Terrorism" is the complexity and difficulty to realize the efforts to stop terrorism by way of a war. Additionally, the terminology is just extremely alienating in nature connoting "us against them," which is a notion terrorists embrace by the way. This term frankly is the code for Arabs and Muslims and if you are the average and even not so average American in the United States this is what you think, perceive and for many believe.

In 2005, then Joints Chief of Staff Chairman Richard Meyers, announced that there was not actually any "War on Terror:" ' He told a National Press Club audience that he had "objected to the use of the term 'war on terrorism' before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution." Additionally, if it is a war in the traditional sense there is supposed to be an end in site. For a "War on Terror," there is no end, there are no land masses or boundaries, the enemies are many and can be anyone that fits the U.S. definition at any time.

The problem with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano referring to the "War on Terrorism" as now "Man Caused Disasters" (MCDs) is because her term is also quite vague and without form, substance and not macho enough. For Americans to not use the "War on Terror,"does not sound hard-core. MCDs do not contain Testosterone. It does not carry the "Don't' Mess with the U.S." cache that Americans like to feel when their Patriotic ire is up. The term "War on Terror," that became a part of Bush 43's mantra actually helped most Americans from a psychological perspective not feel so fearful, because our military was now going kick Terrorism in the a_ _, kill it and end it once and for all. But the problem is, we didn't. We beat it back, killed a number of persons involved in terrorist acts, but former "Muhuji Freedom Fighter" turned Public Enemy numero uno Terrorist enemy Osama Bin Laden has not been killed yet. Also, he is not the only one out there. President Obama knows for sure this can't be done alone and the continued efforts to fight it into eternity can't be done by the United States lone star style.

When U.S. Presidents declare wars on things such as poverty by Lyndon B. Johnson and drugs by Ronald Reagan, it serves more as a giant social marketing campaign tool to get people to believe something is being done about a problem that has spun way out of control. From that standpoint it works. U.S. leadership is proving to its people there are plans being implemented to annihilate what and who is hurting our Nation.

However, these wars are invisible, and also served to cement terrible stereotypical perceptions about who the enemies are. In the 1960s, Johnson's 'War on Poverty' was declared at the same time as Civil Right Legislation was passed. The biggest beneficiaries of the legislation were African Americans, but an out growth of this war was labeling poor black folks from the Ghetto as pitiful, lazy and needing handouts. A number of people from the majority viewed them as the enemies to economic progress.

The rise of racial profiling and Blacks being labeled as drug dealing thugs and criminals was another stereotypical outcome by Reagan's 80's 'War on Drugs.' Racial Profiling flourished. The enemy was a young black man walking alone or in small groups.

The sad thing about both domestic wars is to this day, the United States are losing both wars - poverty is up in nearly every demographic and South of the Border there is a country called Mexico where the drug Cartels's biggest client are U.S. Citizens from all races.

I strongly believe President Obama knows the United States has been losing these wars and also knows the terrible impact these wars have had on a group of people when they are labeled and targeted. He just does not want to continue down that road when it comes to terrorism. It is way too risky.

I give credit to Obama 44 and his very cerebral administration for having a holistic understanding that to end anything harmful to American citizens and the world such as terrorism, it is a "Contingency Operation," that is situational, strategically multifaceted and inclusive of other nations to achieve the objectives towards either ending terrorism or getting it under control.