Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Okay, calm down, everybody. How about "The War on Nuisance"?

On the same day that President Bush said, "Bin laden and his terrorists' allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them," the chief of strategic planning on the Pentagon's Joint Staff, Colonel Gary Cheek, said that what is needed is to recast terrorists as criminals, UPI reported.
"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.


religion of pieces said...

There's a very insightful comment by 'Columba' about why it's impossible to reason with Muslims, at

"It's significant that most other belief systems (including secular ones) base their truth claims on ... well, truth. Someone converting to the belief system would do so on the grounds that the system had somehow proven itself to be a valid way of looking at everything.

Islam's call to conversion is entirely different; it's based on power. Not just the threat "convert or die," but even the claim that "Islam is stronger," a claim we've been hearing more frequently these days. Not that it's true, but that it holds power.

There's little attempt to convince intellectually, but rather a call to join the winning army: might makes right. And that's a powerful appeal to people already inclined toward arrogance and violence."

Michaelcd said...

Surely, as a result of their logic, governments should repeal all legislation pertaining to the war on terror? There's obviously no need for it if, after all, we are facing just "criminals" not terrorists.