Wednesday, April 04, 2007

`The-War-that-must-not-be-named' say the House Democrats

The House Armed Services Committee is banishing the global war on terror from the 2008 defense budget.... because the committee’s Democratic leadership doesn't like the phrase.

A memo for the committee staff, circulated March 27, says the 2008 bill and its accompanying explanatory report that will set defense policy should “avoid using colloquialisms.”That, of course, includes the nifty phrase “global war on terror,” first used by President Bush just after 9/11 which should not be used, according to the memo. Also banned is the phrase the “long war,” which military officials began using last year.

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.”

Josh Holly, a spokesman for presidential candidate Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, the committee’s former chairman and now its senior Republican, said Republicans “were not consulted” about the change.

“If you are a reader of the Harry Potter books, you might describe this as the war that must not be named,” said another Republican aide. For those of you who haven't read the Harry Potter books, that's a reference to the fact that the villain, the powerful dark wizard Lord Voldemort, is often referred to as “he who must not be named” out of sheer terror.

Obviously, this is a transparent effort to deny that we're in any kind of global conflict at all, and to orphan Iraq as a front in this war. Which of course is just another step that makes it easier to precipitously pull out without actually having to take the courageous stance before the American people of defunding the troops now in Iraq.

In a sense, this is the president's own fault for coming up with such a transparent misnomer for this conflict in the first place....not that it excuses the current crop of appeasers.

If the House Democrats dislike Bush's turgid `great war on terror' I can only imagine what they would think of my name for this conflict, the War on Jihad!

In any event, living in denial that Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, Thailand, Somalia, Kashmir, and other fronts in this war are not connected is the height of folly...but that appears to be where at least a large part of Congress is headed.

Well and good - but in later years, I expect my fellow Americans to hold these people personally accountable for the results.


Jersey McJones said...

I can think of at least two things wrong with the use of the phrase “Global War on Terrorism” in a defense authorization bill:

1) Authorizing this Administration to fight a “Global War” is analogous to authorizing Michael Jackson to run a day care center (the Globe), let alone to babysit two children (Iraq and Afghanistan).

2) Authorizing this Administration to fight a “Global War” against a tactic, “Terrorism,” is analogous to authorizing Michael Jackson to run a day care center with carte blanche to do as he will with the children as long as he says he believes they have misbehaved.

But as pedantic as all this sounds, there’s more to what Representative Skelton and his Democrat compatriots are up to here. Authorizing, even if only by inference, a “Global War on Terrorism,” is de facto declaring war on the entire world. Even Hitler didn’t do that. “Terrorism,” and by default “terrorists,” is a ubiquitous presence throughout the “Globe.” I would confidently assume that every nation on Earth has “terrorists” committing “terrorism” every day. To the victim, “terrorism” is “terrifying,” regardless of how many victims there are. So, from small acts of “terror” to massive assaults, “terrorism” is a worldwide fact of life. For any one entity, or nation, to fight “terrorism” “globally” is both impossibly arduous and unacceptably presumptuous. It is for each nation, each peoples, each authority to deal with “terrorism.” Sure, we can work together, even “globally,” to prevent “terrorism” and prosecute “terrorists” - that’s called DIPLOMACY, not “war.”

And “terrorism,” is too broad a term to be declaring war upon it. For example, per American law, if you were to call someone on the telephone and tell them that you are going to punch them in the face, you have commited an act of terror. A warrant could be issued for your arrest for “terrorizing” the receiver of that call. And “terrorism” is in the eye, or at least the rhetoric, of the beholder. In 2002, Chinese authorities made an active effort to portray the practitioners of Falun Gong, a Buddhist sect that concentrates on “better health and inner peace,” as terrorists. Somehow I think the American people are not up for shipping Chinese housewives to Guantanamo for performing slow-motion exercizes in the park.

All this aside, words have meaning, and words in legislation have meaning in law. The Bush Administration has shown itself to be irresponsible, inept and callous in it’s application of the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq. It has shown itself irresponsible, inept and callous in it’s handling of Afghanistan. It has made thinly veiled threats against Iran. The Constitutional authority to declare war and maintain the military rests squarely on the Legislature - not the Executive. This Executive, in particular, has shown a propensity to circumnavigate circumlocutous law, be it through piddling “signing statements” or catastrophic foreign policy. Ike Skelton and the Democrats on the House Armed Services Committe are not playing semantic games - they are legislating responsibly. It’s about time and it’s been a long time coming.


Freedom Fighter said...

Here's where I agree, and here's where I differ, Jersey.

I totally concur that the phrase `Global war on terror' is ridiculous, as I said in my article. I much prefer my name for this conflict, the War on Jihad.

I also agree that I would have preferred that the Bush Administration had gone to Congress and asked for a formal declaration of war against Islamic fascism and any countries that harbor and fund it the day after 9/11. By definition, that would have included Iraq and Iran, as well as President Bush's `eternal friends' in Saudi Arabia unless they quickly mended their ways.

The threat of a formal US declaration of war would have worked wonders in reducing financing and havens for jihad.

Having said that, I respectfully think you are being extremely naive
and misinformed in apparently not recognizing the global nature of this conflict.

Look at the world around you, at Iraq, at Israel, at Kashmir, at the Philippines, at Thailand, at a dozen other places and ask yourself what they have in common - jihadis, funded by the countries I named above against (your team here).

Likewise, get a clue at what is likely being preached at the local Saudi financed mosque/madrassah in your town.

Just because the Bush Administration has largely be less than effective in fighting this war doesn't mean the war doesn't exist.

Thanks for dropping by.


Jersey McJones said...

"The War on Jihad" would be a huge mistake. Firstly because it would soound to the Muslim world as a war on their religious beliefs, and secondly because it would sound to the rest of the world as "the war on war."

"...a formal declaration of war against Islamic fascism..."

Huh??? How do you formally declare a war on a theo-political philsophy?

"...and any countries that harbor and fund it the day after 9/11."

You mean almost every country in the Muslim world?

I'm not ignoring anything, and I'm a well educated man. These particular terrorists are part of a International Organized Crime Syndicate. They should be dealt with as such.


Anonymous said...

An `international organized crime syndicate' hmmm? Sounds like the failed pre 9/11 policy of treating this as `just a law enforcement problem.'

I think we all saw how well that turned out.

You may claim to be well educated and perhaps you are, but your comments betray a certain lack of logic.

On the one hand, you claim that the Islamic terrorists are merely stateless criminals, and on the other, you claim,by implication, that declaring war on the countries that support them would be declaring war on the entire Muslim world!

Which is it? You can't have it both ways, Jersey.

And, in passing, if many Muslim countries are supporting war against the West, why shouldn't we be at war with them?

I don't expect you're familiar with the Qu'ran and hadiths, but `jihad' is a religious imperative to impose the rule of `dar Islam' (the peace of Islam) on dar harb (literally, the place of war, the part of the world ruled by non-Muslims).

Or, as the OG Mohammed told his followers just before he died in 632 CE they were to fight the unbelievers until they either killed them , converted them to Islam or until they subdued them and collected jirzya (tribute) from them.

In fact, you can declare war on an ideology and the countries that support it, and we did exactly that in WWII. We gave the nations of the world an opportunity to choose sides, or at the very least, stay out of it.

Thus, countries like Spain, Argentina and Turkey, which had certain fascist proclivities chose to opt out.

Begging the question and living in denial merely muddies the waters..something, I grant you, that the Bush Administration has been fairly guilty of.


Jersey McJones said...

The point I was making about "declaring war on the entire world" is that almost every nation on the planet has some sort of "terrorists" lurking around, many states "sponsor" these terrorists, and the particular "terrorists" we're concerned with are ubiquitous throughout the Muslim world.

As for the line between dealing with terrorism as an international organized crime problem and the rhetoric of "law enforcment" problem is that the latter is too simplistic - it is a diplomatic, strategic, intelligence, law enforcement, military problem. But to make it purely a military problem - that is just as simplistic as making it a "law enforcement" problem. The mafia killed just as many people throughout the world as these terrorists have, and they were in cahoots with governments throughout the world too (Batista's Cuba, Papa Doc's Haiti, parts of Italy, America, Columbia, Mexico, Brazil, etc) but we didn't go after them by invading these nations. We beat them slowly but surely with law enforcement, intelligence, diplomacy, propoganda, etc.

Not one single war that was declared on a noun has ever been successful.


Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Jersey.

Jihad, in the last fifteen hundred years has murdered over 170 million people .

Over ten thousand of them (conservatively) were murdered in the last five years. I challenge you to produce comparable statistics from the `mafia'.

Second, when you gratuitously state that `every nation on earth has some terrorists (in quote marks, no less) lurking around, you beg the question.

What is the ideology of these terrorists, Jersey? Where did they originate? Where were they trained? And whose paying for their operations?

Again, you appear to avoid the question: if it's simply a law enforcement problem, than why would all these Muslim nations be harboring and supporting these people? And if they if fact are, why shouldn't we be giving them a clear idea of the consequences if they continue to help our enemies?

The last time I checked, the mafia weren't blowing up pizza parlors,trains and women and children worldwide to advance some kind of mafia conquest. You need out get out more, perhaps.

Finally, I disagree with your contention that `Not one single war that was declared on a noun has ever been successful.'

Germany, Japan, Britain, France etc. are all proper nouns,last time I checked. And, if you actually look at the speeches Roosevelt and Churchill made, you'll find numerous phrases declaring war on fascism - which WAS in fact successful.

Ronald Reagan likewise, in his fashion, declared war on the `Evil Empire' which also worked out quite well.

This is a global conflict that will only be dealt with by going to the sources.

Mark my words on that.


Jersey McJones said...

Hi FF,

"Jihad, in the last fifteen hundred years has murdered over 170 million people."

It has???

Jihad, in and of itself, is a broad term. You could say that "Islam" was rhetorically used to start wars and empire, but that's another matter. Christianity has been used the same way. And when Christians were living in the Dark Ages (thanks to Christo-Feudal Theo-Aristocracy) there was a great PAx Islam that streched from Morrocco to India and even southeastern Europe (which is why, to this day, there are European Muslims in the Balkans who converted back then because life with the Ottomans was far better than with the Christian Europeans). FYI - you're talking to a old history major. Better check your facts before you use them.

"What is the ideology of these terrorists, Jersey? Where did they originate? Where were they trained? And whose paying for their operations?"

It varies from group to group and place to place. In America, most are funded privately. In Sri Lanka they are funded by extortion rackets. Islamist militants are funded bwhole wide scope of different sources. Etc...

"And, in passing, if many Muslim countries are supporting war and hostilities against the West, why shouldn't we be at war with them?"

Becaue it isn't necessary. They aren't enough of a threat.

And that's gets to the main problem with your argument - if you really fear that ululating hordes of mad, Islamist hashashsins are going to come riding accross America on their arabian steeds, waving scimitars in the air to conquer us, then you're a paranoid dellusional lunatic. That fact of the matter is that terrorism is just not that big of a threat to America - especially not enough for us to go to war (Afghanistan aside, because that was our own Blowback anyway, and so we had to clean it up).

"Germany, Japan, Britain, France etc. are all proper nouns,last time I checked. And, if you actually look at the speeches Roosevelt and Churchill made, you'll find numerous phrases declaring war on fascism - which WAS in fact successful."

Okay - INDIRECT nouns. And if you think fascism was defeated in WWII, you got another thing comin'! It lives on to this day - often SUPPORTED by the West, and often CREATING the terrorism we suffer today.

"Ronald Reagan likewise, in his fashion, declared war on the `Evil Empire' which also worked out quite well."

Oh pl-ease. Reagan? What? Did he "tear down that wall" with his Super Rhetoric Breath? That's just comic-bookish epistomology. Hell, Kissinger himself said that Jimmy Carter had more to do with the fall of the USSR than Reagan. And what good came of it? Nucular weapons possibly scattered throughout the world. The global balance of powers disrupted leading to the madness we have today. Afghanistan turned into a terrorist haven that led to 9/11. Oh, and let's not forget Reagan's "deregulations" that left us open to attack on 9/11, let along the S&L crisis and Prudential bailout.

How old are you FF? Do you not remember all this?

Respectfully, JMJ

Anonymous said...

Hello Jersey,
Pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable...

Yes, for your information, jihad has indeed murdered at least 170 million people over the last 1500 years. Use some of the excellent education you keep telling me you have to read up on the Muslim conquests in Egypt, Persia, Byzantium, Europe, India and elsewhere sometime.

Moreover.As I said, at least 10,000 conservatively (not counting military casualties in places like Iraq) were murdered in the last five years, including 3,000 Americans alone on 9/11. The numbers on the Crusades, The Inquisition and the reformation pale by comparison.

Frankly, you seem to lack the basic understanding of the fact that while the Crusades (a direct response to the Muslim attempt to overun christianity, BTW) did indeed happen, the Crusades were not an integral part of christianity - jihad IS an integral part of Islam, and conquest is a religious imperative as even a casual reading of the Qu'ran and hadiths will show you.

As for the myth of ` Pax Islam', it involved the most obscene oppression and slavery that made the jim crow south look positively benign. Do a search on this site under the word `dhimmi'and learn a little something about how Islam treated the conquered peoples. In a word, non-Muslims have no rights under the law whatsoever.

Under the `Pax Islam'
non-believers had the original choice given by Mohammed before he died in 632 AD - Muslim, corpse or slave.

That's substantially the same choices non-Muslims have in most of the Muslim world today.

You also get a `f' when it comes to understanding where Islamic terrorists originate, who pays them and how they are nurtured. The vast majority comes from NATION STATES like Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Are you that clueless?
(BTW,The Sri Lankan Tamil tigers ain't Muslims..just to let you know).

I think you need to read up on where Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Jemayah Islami and others get the money, the facilities to train and recruit sometime.And why al Qaeda has safe havens in Pakistan.

When it comes to defeating Fascism, the west was in fact sucessful.
(oh, and BTW, the term you're searching for is `proper noun'!)

The Allies destroyed the fascist coalition that was a danger to us at that time, just as Reagan destroyed the Soviet Empire.

Evil doesn't take vacations, and freedom continues to need to be defended, in every generation.

Here's what it comes down to Jersey, in a nutshell. You see a scattered bunch of criminals with no connection to any particular ideology who are no threat to us.

I see an advance guard, harbored and trained by NATION STATES with allegiance to an ideology that makes no bones about wanting to conquer the West.

The facts show this quite plainly, as well as clear statements from the people involved.

You prefer to live in denial.

And that's where we differ.

Thanks for dropping by,