"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission, senior administration and military officials said Monday.
In recent speeches and news conferences, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the nation's senior military officer have spoken of "a global struggle against violent extremism" rather than "the global war on terror," which had been the catchphrase of choice. Administration officials say that phrase may have outlived its usefulness, because it focused attention solely, and incorrectly, on the military campaign....
Administration and Pentagon officials say the revamped campaign has grown out of meetings of President Bush's senior national security advisers that began in January, and it reflects the evolution in Mr. Bush's own thinking nearly four years after the Sept. 11 attacks....
The shifting language is one of the most public changes in the administration's strategy to battle Al Qaeda and its affiliates, and it tracks closely with Mr. Bush's recent speeches emphasizing freedom, democracy and the worldwide clash of ideas....
New opinion polls show that the American public is increasingly pessimistic about the mission in Iraq, with many doubting its link to the counterterrorism mission. So, a new emphasis on reminding the public of the broader, long-term threat to the United States may allow the administration to put into broader perspective the daily mayhem in Iraq and the American casualties.
Look, my Lovely Bride is the marketing genius in the family, not me, but I'm not sure that "global struggle against violent extremism" is such an appealing brand, either. "Struggle," for instance, implies a degree of difficulty that will be hard to sell to the consumer. Also, "violent extremism" sounds kind of negative, and is not specific enough to brown-skinned people (someone might get confused, and apply the label to the folks who shoot abortion providers, for example - and then where would we be?). I think they need something peppier, something more upbeat, something like "our blood-feud against the ragheads," or words to that effect. I'm sure that, with a little brainstorming, Karen Hughes could punch that up and make it into something useful. Don't bother thanking me; like any patriotic American, I'm proud to serve.