- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2007

British bureaucrats and U.S. lawmakers are abandoning the phrases “war on terror” and “long war” as the Bush administration redefines the battle against al Qaeda as a global war of ideology against a network of terrorists.

“I recognize that using the term ‘war’ with respect to the struggle we’re engaged in makes some people uncomfortable,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told students during a speech Thursday at Johns Hopkins University.

“We have to recognize we are fighting members of a movement and an ideology that seeks to advance a totalitarian world vision around the globe,” he said. “And if we don’t understand that and contend in the field of ideology, we cannot really match this enemy across the entire spectrum of the challenge.”

The change in rhetoric began in March, when the Pentagon quietly ditched the phrase “long war.” Last month, Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee decreed they would no longer use the phrases “war on terror” and “long war.”

Hilary Benn, the international development secretary in British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Cabinet, said last week that his government has instructed all diplomats to discontinue using the phrase “war on terror.”

“We can’t win by military means alone,” Mr. Benn said. “And because this isn’t us against one organized enemy with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives.”

Mr. Chertoff said the war being waged by the United States and its allies is a struggle that “requires us to prevail in the battle over ideas and ideology.”

The Allies prevailed in World War II and the Cold War “because the ideology that the West and the free world proposed was a triumphant ideology, or virtually triumphed all over the world,” he said. “The fact that one uses tools of terror as opposed to massed armies with flags and tanks doesn’t mean that you’re not dealing with a war.”

Terrorism “is not a movement, it’s a tactic. But terrorism is a tactic that can be used in a war,” Mr. Chertoff said.

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