A victory for clarity
The 'war on terror' is over.
  an Editorial from 08 Aug, 2009
John Brennan, Barack Obama's chief adviser on counter-terrorism, has announced the end of the "global war on terror". Not, of course, because it has been won but because, like some other rhetorical relics of the Bush era, the phrase is glib and dangerous. George W Bush's Manichean world view ("Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists") and his Peter and Jane approach to geopolitics (the "axis of evil") attempted to simplify what could not be simplified. As Mr Brennan points out, a "global war" sounds as if the US is fighting the rest of the world.
The passing of the war on terror is also a victory for language. As Terry Jones, the former Monty Python member, wrote in 2001, it is awfully hard to wage war on an abstract noun. How, he asked, could it surrender?
But although Mr Obama's team is more erudite than his predecessor's, it is lurching in a horrible linguistic direction of its own. "Overseas contingency operation" has been suggested as an alternative to "war on terror". And Mr Brennan is a master of the bungled metaphor: he recently announced that "by focusing on the tactic [terrorism], we risk floundering among the terrorist trees while missing the growth of the extremist forest". An extremist forest? Sounds like a job for Special Branch.
Well.... I posted this because of Terry Jones' comment really.
The editorial is available at: