06 April 2009

Overseas contingency operations

The Australian's Cut and Paste section has an interesting take on the US government's redefining of what has hitherto been called "the global war on terror" or "terrorism". The new term is "overseas contingency operations"

A couple of pastes:

New York Post on March 25:

THE Obama administration has ordered an end to use of the phrase "Global War on Terror," a label adopted by the Bush administration shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. In a memo sent this week from the Defence Department to staffers at the Pentagon, members were told, "this administration prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' (GWOT). Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation'." A Pentagon spokesman said there was no memo or directive instructing officials to stop using the Global War on Terror phrase but acknowledged that the department has officially adopted Overseas Contingency Operation as the new term for the war.

Craig W. Duehring, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower, also used the term last week. "Key battlefield monetary incentives has allowed the Air Force to meet the demands of overseas contingency operations even as requirements continue to grow," he said in congressional testimony.

Wall Street Journal editorial on Saturday:

THE 9/11 Commission counselled clarity, the new administration is emitting a haze of obfuscation. The Pentagon's preferred term is "overseas contingency operations", a bit of military jargon of which "overseas" is the only part recognisable in plain English, and which obscures the key point that the war -- sorry, the "operations" -- began in earnest only after terrorists attacked American cities. Yet Mr Obama's policies so far have been much more hawkish than his rhetoric as a candidate. He has abandoned his pledge to withdraw immediately from Iraq and has merely reiterated his promise to close Guantanamo. In court, he has hewed closely enough to Mr Bush's positions on secrecy, surveillance and detention to prompt an agonised New York Times editorial. The one foreign policy promise Mr Obama has kept is the one the far Left finds hardest to swallow: a troop surge in Afghanistan. Maybe, then, the President's hope is that the MoveOn types will settle for words in the absence of real change. If so, we suppose the rhetorical smoke is a small price to pay, even if the euphemisms for war and terrorism sound ridiculous.

No comments: