"If we can change the name ... and find the right sequence of events that allows us to do that, that changes the dynamic of the conflict," said Cheek at the Defense Forum Washington, sponsored by the Marine Corps Association and the U.S. Naval Institute.
"It makes sense for us to find another name for the GWOT," said Cheek. "It merits rethinking. I know our European allies are more comfortable articulating issues of terrorism as criminal threats, rather than war ... It ought to be our goal to partner better with the European allies so we can migrate this from a war to something other than a war."
Why, Colonel Cheek, that's not far short of brilliant. The ... er ... criminals may have tens of thousands of volunteers for worldwide jihad, but we have the power of re-branding!
The "war" moniker elevates al-Qaida and other transnational terrorists, giving them legitimacy as an opposition force to the United States. It also tends to alienate Muslim populations in other countries, who see the war as a war on Islam, and feel they need to support al-Qaida as a matter of defending their faith.On no account must we alienate anyone! In fact, if you'll forgive me for raising this point, Colonel, sir ... don't you think "criminal" is a bit, well, strong? After all, we're only up against a few misguided members of the Religion of Peace. Using the word "criminal" could tend to defame all Muslims, even when the offense is a mere misdemeanor, hardly worth the time it costs the district attorney's office to work out a plea bargain. As the UPI "analyst" who quoted you writes, "If the United States can recast it in the global public eye as what the Pentagon views it as now -- a struggle for the imposition of law and order and the establishment of a democracy -- al-Qaida can be drained of some of its power."
Provided we can disabuse our minds of emotion-laden words like "terrorist" and "attack," we can pass local ordinances against disturbing the establishment of democracy, which, when proven in a court of law, will subject the offender to fines and points against pilot licenses.
I'll feel safer tonight, Colonel, knowing that strategic thinkers like you are migrating this war into something other than a war, which has so upset our allies the Muslims, and that the Pentagon views it the same way now.