As First and Only Scorer for the frequency of usages that pertain to the struggle formerly known as the 'war on terror', I feel it is appropriate for me to offer some documentation as to how much disliked the phrase 'war on terror' itself has become. This may be seen from the adjectival appendages often accompanying it. I have a modest sample here.
To begin with the most obvious, there's the 'so-called war on terror'. This has the merit of straightforwardness in that the thing that, according to its nay-sayers, should not have been so called has been. I am less sure, however, about the 'self-proclaimed war on terror', for reasons similar to the ones that make me worry about the 'self-styled war on terror' (also here). My worry is metaphysical. Can the phenomenon that should not have been so called have proclaimed or styled itself a war on terror? Could it have proclaimed itself anything? Anyway, whether it could have or not, it was 'the misnamed war on terror'. Many people agree about this, though with some variety of expression in how they do so: it has been an 'ineptly named war on terror', and an 'ill-named war on terror', and an 'egregiously named war on terror', and a 'stupidly-named war on terror'. Oh, and an 'absurdly named war on terror' (also here), and an 'inappropriately named war on terror', and a 'ridiculously named war on terror'. It wasn't well named, OK.
I'll tell you something else; it wasn't well titled or labelled either. It was 'ineptly titled', and 'inadequately titled', and 'absurdly-labelled', and 'ridiculously labelled', and 'ineptly labelled'. In a word it was 'mislabelled'. In three words it was 'a terrible misnomer'.
What a laugh. So far no one has managed to come up with two cogent objections to the phrase 'war on terror' to rub together. Correction: one cogent objection. The adjectival distancing is the whole deal. Easy to figure out why. The phrase is associated with George W. Bush. A good enough reason, some will say.
So here's a mental exercise for them. What reason could have been given to Bush himself as a reason not to adopt the phrase 'war on terror' in the first place? If you can't find one that could have been given to him, then you're still looking for a reason. Like you can be a vegetarian even though there are certain vegetarians you wouldn't want to dine with.