Former senator John Edwards (D-NC) said yesterday that the “war on terrorism” is a “slogan designed only for politics, not a strategy to make America safe.”
By framing this as a “war,” we have walked straight into the trap that the terrorists have set — that we are engaged in some kind of clash of civilizations and a war against Islam.
Edwards is not alone. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) has stopped using the phrase “global war on terror” in committee budget documents, and the British government has banned the phrase “because it gives militant groups a shared identity.”
During a press conference today, President Bush attacked these critics of the phrase. “This notion about how this isn’t a war on terror in my view is na¯ve. It doesn’t reflect the true nature of the world in which we live, you know?”
The “true nature of the world” is that global terrorism has exploded under Bush’s watch, and his statement today is pure hypocrisy. In August 2004, President Bush said, “We actually misnamed the war on terror,” acknowledging it was more accurate to describe it as a struggle against “ideological extremists” who “happen to use terror as a weapon.”
BUSH: And they will fight us. And the fundamental question is will we fight them?
I have made the decision to do so. I believe that the best way to protect us in this war on terror is to fight them. And so, we’re fighting them in Iraq; we’re fighting them in Afghanistan; we’ve helped the Philippines fight — Philippine government fight them. We’re fighting them.
And this notion about how this isn’t a war on terror in my view is na¯ve. It doesn’t reflect the true nature of the world in which we live, you know?
The lessons of September the 11th are these: We’ve got to stay on the offense. We’ve got to bring these people to justice before they hurt again.