An end to the "global war on terror"?

Democrats eye a name change.

Published April 4, 2007 6:42PM (EDT)

The Military Times reports that Democratic staffers for the House Armed Services Committee want to banish the words "global war on terror" from the 2008 defense budget.

The idea: Instead of using the heavy-on-politics, light-on-meaning GWOT terminology -- who wouldn't be against a war on terror, assuming, of course, that one can have a war against a tactic? -- Congress should describe what it's funding in words that actually describe what it's funding. So rather than GWOT, the 2008 defense bill would be couched in terms like "the war in Afghanistan" or "the war in Iraq."

Now, by our way of thinking, Republicans ought not to be making much of the switch. Democrats could, after all, redub the Iraq war "Bush's Folly" or some such. But a spokesman for California Rep. Duncan Hunter is complaining that Republicans on the committee "were not consulted" about the change -- it sucks to be in the minority, doesn't it? -- and a Republican aide admits, at least tacitly, that the Democratic language would undo the framing that the Bush administration would like to keep in place. "This is a philosophical and political question," the GOP aide tells the Military Times. "Republicans generally believe that by fighting the war on terror in Iraq, we are preventing terrorists from spreading elsewhere and are keeping them engaged so they are not attacking us at home."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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