The War on Terror is Over!

Predator Strikes on Terrorist Targets: Overseas Contingency Ops NO WAR
This is not WAR anymore!

At least as far as the United States Government is concerned:

The end of the Global War on Terror — or at least the use of that phrase — has been codified at the Pentagon. Reports that the phrase was being retired have been circulating for some time amongst senior administration officials, and this morning speechwriters and other staff were notified via this e-mail to use “Overseas Contingency Operation” instead.

Conversely, Al Qaeda deputy  Ayman al-Zawahiri has not indicated that his organization was adopting a similar, detente-like posture, and abandoning Jihad, suicide attacks, or other terror tactics in favor of some muted overseas contingency operations-type stance. In fact, in his most recent statement, he declared that “Demonstrating against [the actions of the United States and Israel] is not enough; you must engage in jihad.  Strike the American-Zionist Crusade everywhere.”

Osama Bin Laden, for his part, recently exhorted muslims worldwide to travel to Somalia and help establish an Islamic state there:

“I send my appeal to the Muslim Ummah everywhere, and ask them extend a helping hand to our family in Somalia, to meet the needs of those afflicted by famine, and to also expend their energies and wealth to back the Jihad [in it] until it is liberated from the invaders and hypocrites and the state of Islam is set up in it, Allah permitting. Achieving victory there will be easy, Allah willing, if every party does his duty”.

Many muslims worldwide are apparently unaware that the War on Terror is drawing to a close, and many have answered Bin Laden’s request, including at least one American citizen, who committed a suicide bombing attack in Somalia that killed thirty people.

Meanwhile, three Soldiers and an Airmen died in combat contingency operations last week in Afghanistan. And of course, the combat contingency operations involving Predator drone strikes on terrorist targets in Pakistan continue unabated.

So let the Pentagon spokespeople call “it” an overseas contingency operation; in fact, have a spokesman drop a literary reference and state to the world that ‘The United States is conducting an overseas contingency operation; the United States has always been conducting a contingency operation* if it makes the powers that be happy.

But let us hope the government does not forget that there are well funded organizations out there that call what they are planning, training and strategically positioning themselves for something much less innocuous than a contingency operation. And hope that what we meet these individuals with a level of force and effort that could legitimately be called war.

* Orwell, of course.

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6 thoughts on “The War on Terror is Over!

  1. Jim,

    for eight years, the term war on terror was used to connote the efforts of the United States in combatting al Qaeda around the globe, along with its affiliates.

    We have fought and continue to fight al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations all around the globe; recently, Bin Laden himself exhorted his followers to support the affiliated al Shabaab movement in Somalia, for instance.

    Conversely, I would argue that most of what we are doing in Afghanistan has little to do with the former War on Terror. Most battles there are with Taliban and other movements only loosely affiliated with Al Qaeda, if at all.

    And I do not necessarily share your pessimism for the outcome in Afghanistan, either, in any case.

    The war on terror like the cold war that it is most closely analogous to, is being fought globally, in places like Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and other places, and yes even in Iraq, where Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has definitely seen better days. . .

    Finally, one important point that is important when it comes to terminology is that which our adversaries have used and continue to use; it is rare to hear any leader of al Qaeda discuss their actions without using terms like jihad, war, destruction, et al.

    Words mean things; failing to describe the threat the country faces could lead to a failure to array the resources and effort required to combat the threat, which didn’t work out so well for people in NYC, Northern Virginia, and a Pennsylvanian field a few years back. . .

  2. I’m not pessimistic about Afghanistan, just concerned – I’m not educated enough on military strength or the estimation of the ability of the U.S. to succeed there. I’m just using the Soviet/Afghan war as a jumping off point to underline the strategic problems we might face.

    Regarding the cold war, the primary methodology of operation was intelligence gathering and black ops to eliminate potential threats. (It also borne the philosophy of installing puppet governments by using the same means.) I think the WOT is vastly different in that our response was decidedly military from the get go. It was a lack of intelligence, or the lackadaisical communication of intelligence, that was the primary catalyst for Al-Qaeda’s success. If Clinton hadn’t stalled on two separate occasions, we would have had Bin Laden in the late 90s. If the CIA and FBI had been communicating effectively prior to 9/2001, we probably could have prevented 9/11.

    I’ll concede that al Qaeda will not change their terminology, as they are dogmatic radicals. I do think Obama is changing the language for two reasons: 1.) Political – which is obvious, and 2.) Long Term Strategy. I think he believes that a large dosage of diplomacy is going to be needed in the long term in order to attempt to quash some ingrained Muslim ideology. Bush alienated many of our allies with his never-bending “keep the course” stance. Obama is trying to change our allies minds to, hopefully, back us up if need be.

  3. Jim,

    I agree with almost everything you wrote on above; however:

    1. While much of the cold war consisted of intelligence gathering and political posturing, and a great deal of diplomacy as well. Also, the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and yes, Afghanistan, were components of the cold war as well.

    2. My issue with dropping the War on Terror for “Overseas Contingency Operations” is that it is disengenuous at best, and unhelpful for providing rigor to the United States government ind ealing with its adversaries.
    The cold war was a unifying socio-political construct for the west; even though policies varied from administration to administration, for nearly five decades the country had a workable framework. Imperfect, and no doubt many presidents made many mistakes over the years, but it was a framework nonetheless. If there is another terrorist attack on American soil perpetrated by al Qaeda, my guess is that we will not be talking about “overseas contingency operations” any longer.

  4. Reading that just makes me cause friction between my cranium and digits…..err I mean scratch my head.

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