View Full Version : The 'rebranding' of the war on terror

08-03-2005, 06:47 AM
Bush team wants to play down military aspects and focus on the 'struggle against violent extremism.'

By Tom Regan | csmonitor.com

What's in a name? Would the "war on terrorism" with a new brand be just as effective?

The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday that the phrase "war on terror," which coalition officials have used over the past four years, will be "phased out in favor of more nuanced language." US officials are instead starting to use the "less than snappy phrase 'struggle against violent extremism.' "

The rebranding is part of what America's critics will say is a long overdue acknowledgement by the Pentagon of the complexity of the challenge of combating Al Qaeda. "As the struggle evolves some of the language will evolve as well," a senior administration official said. ...

The phrase "war on terror" was "very simple, easy, concise", the official said. "The definition lends itself to images of those in uniform combating extremism and terrorists but the struggle is broader than that."

They said the change is also part of the administration's attempt to show that military action "is only one piece of the war on terrorism."

"Freedom-loving people around the world must reach out through every means - communications, trade, education - to support the courageous Muslims who are speaking the truth about their proud religion and history, and seizing it back from those who would hijack it for evil ends."

Not everyone is buying the administration's explanation for the "branding" change. Blogcritics.org (a group blog that covers music, books, film, TV, video, politics, technology, and the Internet) says a change in name also signals that the original one isn't working all that well.

... if the administration is changing the "brand" to reflect less and less on the military campaign – it's a likely sign their attempts to tie the Iraq War to the global struggle isn't going as well as the marketers in the White House had hoped.

No word on Al Qaeda changing its name anytime soon. Their branding has kept them in business for 1,415 days since 9/11. That's longer than the "Thousand Year Reich" and the "Empire of the Rising Sun" lasted after Pearl Harbor -- just 1,347 days. And let's face it, those names were some serious bad-guy branding. The "Global War on Terror" hasn't brought Osama bin Laden in -- "dead or alive." Maybe a flashy new name, like "The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism" will.

Journalist Joe Gandelman, who writes The Moderate Voice blog, also questions the 'rebranding' of the war on terror.

But I thought that just a few months ago conservative commentators were up in arms about the BBC and Reuters refusing to use the word 'terrorist.' TMV isn't a conservative (OR a liberal) blogger and he thought it was silly too. But he knows Rush [Limbaugh], and Sean [Hannity] and all the others (including bloggers) will now be falling all over themselves saying what a genius idea it is, but we must say:

It was dumb when the BBC didn't use the "t" word and it's dumb when the administration tries to recast this conflict now. The enemy is terrorism. Free and democratic societies may have to fight it on many levels — but the enemy is TERRORISTS and TERRORISM.

And Harry Smith, of CBS News, also asks if the "rebranding" is part of an effort to distance the administration from early statements that the war in Iraq was part of the war on terror.

Well the War In Iraq is a war. But, does this mean these guys are admitting that when they started it, it really wasn't a war on terror because there weren't any terrorists in the first place?

Google this when you get home tonight. It sounds to me like the administration is trying, in the words of a marketer, to "reposition a brand." Americans were more than happy to support the war in Iraq because they believed, and old polls bare this out, that it was part of the greater war on terrorism.

Support for that war has plummeted. So do we change its name and assume that no one will notice or that it doesn't matter? How about we go back and call the war in Iraq "The Perilously Dangerous Mission To Unseat Saddam Hussein And Install Democracy In A Country Full Of People Who Really Hate And Distrust Each Other"?

Other bloggers note that the idea behind the administration's new language is not new - critics have been describing the current situation in these terms for several years, a position that often had "gotten them labeled if not traitors, than something close to it."

Regardless of the debate over branding, Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, writes that, as British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently said, the current struggle is about fanaticism.

Radical ideologies of hate and violence have often seduced disaffected young men searching for some great cause. Forty years ago they would have embraced Leninist revolutionary dogma, with Che Guevara as the bin Laden of his day. Today, for Muslims, it is a violent interpretation of Islamic fundamentalism. Born in the Middle East, it has spread like a virus across the Muslim world and into the Islamic diaspora in the West. ...

The director-general of Al Arabiya TV, Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, notes: "Extremism, like many other diseases, is an infectious one. A small dose of carriers can spread the infection like wildfire, establishing a community full of destructive thoughts and practices." It isn't the only answer, but let's start by making life difficult for the carriers of this virus.

Writing in Salon.com former Clinton aide Sydney Blumenthal notes that the decision to use new language couldn't have been made all that long ago. Exactly one month ago, when President Bush addressed US troops at Fort Bragg, N.C. he "reaffirmed 'fighting the global war on terrorism,' mentioned 'terror' or 'terrorism' 23 more times, and compared this 'global war on terrorism' with the Civil War and World War II .."

web page (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0728/dailyUpdate.html)

08-07-2005, 08:39 AM
Imo the article is based on one big mistake.
“The enemy is terrorism. Free and democratic societies may have to fight it on many levels — but the enemy is TERRORISTS and TERRORISM.“

Terrorism is only a tool, but never ever the enemy itself!

The US definition of terrorism is this:
The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.

One should note that there is also no universal accepted definition of terrorism. There are virtually more then 100 different definitions of terrorism. A good source of information is http://www.ict.org.il/