Wednesday, April 04, 2007

No more GWOT, House committee decrees

Military Times reported The House Armed Services Committee is banishing the global war on terror from the 2008 defense budget.

Actually I did not think it was in the Defense Budget. Since 9/11 I thought it was all handled by supplemental appropriations.
This is not because the war has been won, lost or even called off, but because the committee’s Democratic leadership doesn’t like the phrase.
In the Harry Potter books, he faces Lord Voldemort, but everyone else refers to him as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named". This sounds like the same thing.
A memo for the committee staff, circulated March 27, says the 2008 bill and its accompanying explanatory report that will set defense policy should be specific about military operations and “avoid using colloquialisms.”
Or at least not colloquiaslisms that George Bush came up with.
The “global war on terror,” a phrase first used by President Bush shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., should not be used, according to the memo. Also banned is the phrase the “long war,” which military officials began using last year as a way of acknowledging that military operations against terrorist states and organizations would not be wrapped up in a few years.
Maybe they will call it the War That Must Not Be Fought.
Committee staff members are told in the memo to use specific references to specific operations instead of the Bush administration’s catch phrases. The memo, written by Staff Director Erin Conaton, provides examples of acceptable phrases, such as “the war in Iraq,” the “war in Afghanistan, “operations in the Horn of Africa” or “ongoing military operations throughout the world.”
How about the War Against Radical Islam?
“There was no political intent in doing this,” said a Democratic aide who asked not to be identified. “We were just trying to avoid catch phrases.”
That we did not invent.
Josh Holly, a spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, the committee’s former chairman and now its senior Republican, said Republicans “were not consulted” about the change. Committee aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said dropping or reducing references to the global war on terror could have many purposes, including an effort to be more precise about military operations, but also has a political element involving a disagreement over whether the war in Iraq is part of the effort to combat terrorism or is actually a distraction from fighting terrorists.
Well we know Dems don't like the War in Iraq. Do they object to fighting terrorists as long as they are not in Iraq? Rather than confronting the Islamoterrists in Baghdad and Basrah would the Dems prefer fighting them in Boston, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Bismarck, Boise, Buffalo, Broken Arrow, or Beaumont; rather than in Mosul would the Dems prefer fighting them in Mandeville, LA (where Greta now lives), Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Mobile, Memphis, Muskogee, or Mesquite; rather than in Karkuk and Karbala would the Dems prefer fighting them in Kansas City, Knoxville, Ketchum, or Kilgore; rather than in Tall Afar and Tikrit would the Dems prefer fighting them in Tulsa, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, Terre Haute, Toledo, Topeka, Tucson, Tahlequah, Texas City, or Texarkana.
House Democratic leaders who have been pushing for an Iraq withdrawal timetable have talked about the need to get combat troops out of Iraq so they can be deployed against terrorists in other parts of the world, while Republicans have said that Iraq is part of the front line in the war on terror. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., the armed services committee chairman, has been among those who have complained that having the military tied up with Iraq operations has reduced its capacity to respond to more pressing problems, like tracking down al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

“This is a philosophical and political question,” said a Republican aide. “Republicans generally believe that by fighting the war on terror in Iraq, we are preventing terrorists from spreading elsewhere and are keeping them engaged so they are not attacking us at home.”

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