Topic: Selling the War
Semantics: Thucydides got it right a long time ago…
As reported Tuesday, July 26, in the New York Times, on Monday last things changed - U.S. Officials Retool Slogan for Terror War. The Global War on Terror is over. Or it has been renamed.
Whatever. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers, Monday was saying he had "objected to the use of the term 'war on terrorism' before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution."
They're not? Then what are we doing in Iraq? He clarifies and says future efforts require "all instruments of our national power, all instruments of the international communities' national power." The solution is "more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military."
Oh. But? Nevermind.
The Times reports this all grew 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 September 11 attacks. But didn't Bush say the jury is still out on evolution?
The Times also snags an interview with Steven Hadley, the national security adviser to Bush.
His point? "It is more than just a military war on terror. It's broader than that. It's a global struggle against extremism. We need to dispute both the gloomy vision and offer a positive alternative."
So this is the positive alternative.
Reactions? Fred Kaplan in SLATE.COM is skeptical
But what really gets to Kaplan the comment from Steven Hadley that they were basically looking for an alternative to gloom - a positive alternative. In short? A happier acronym.
And they got it:
Kaplan goes on to wonder whether Hadley and all the rest of our other top officials really believe this nonsense? The question he asks whether they so enraptured with PR that they think a slogan and a strategy are the same thing - and that retooling the one will transform the other?
It would seem so. Reality is what you make it, and these guys make it.
Remember these guys say things like this -
Got it? Change the words and you change the reality.
Sidney Blumenthal suggests all this renaming is how the Bush administration is silently signaling defeat - but I suspect they don't it see that way. Blumenthal is just the disgruntled left, after all - that other reality, that one doesn't count any longer.
I haven't found anyone saying it yet, but I'm sure it has been said - GSAVE is just a shorted form of "Jesus Saves." It's a crusade thing. (Our friend the high-powered Wall Street attorney also points out that GWOT was far too close to G-Spot.)
Paul Glastris, curiously, here asks us to consider this passage from Thucydides' "History of the Peloponnesian War" -
Yep, it's all how you look at things, and who controls the words used.
And who reads Thucydides these days?
People read John Hinderaker over at Powerline - and Time Magazine says Hinderaker with what he writes on his site is one of the most influential people in America. And Hinderaker says this:
It's all how you look at it. One man's reality is not another's.
So it's GSAVE now. And the guys in the military may have to turn in these and get the revised version.