A reporter at the first White House press briefing under the Obama administration yesterday asked a good question about whether President Obama plans to use the same language as President Bush when referring to U.S. efforts to fight terrorism.
“When he was signing the order today banning torture, he referred to the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism — he did not refer to the war on terrorism. I want to know if this is purposeful. Has he decided to drop the war metaphor?” the reporter said.
Press secretary Robert Gibbs said, “I think the language today was consistent with what he said in his inaugural address on the 20th. I’m not aware of any larger charges than that.”
“No decision not to use that phrase?” the reporter asked.
“Not that I’m aware of,” Gibbs said.
The president, during remarks at the State Department later in the afternoon, provided an answer to the reporter’s question.
“The orders that I signed today,” Obama said, “should send an unmistakable signal that our actions, in defense of liberty, will be just as our costs and that we the people will uphold our fundamental values as vigilantly as we protect our security.”
“Once again America’s moral example must be the bedrock and the beacon of our global leadership. We are confronted by extraordinary, complex and interconnected global challenges: war on terror, sectarian division and the spread of deadly technology. We did not ask for the burden that history has asked us to bear, but Americans will bear it. We must bear it.”
So for now, Obama is in favor of the phrase, “war on terror.”
- Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times