Set up a theme, and a series around the theme, and it's a sure thing you'll soon have some sub-themes ambling along. So it has been with the struggle formerly known as 'the war on terror'. An emerging sub-theme now is this: maybe it's still sometimes known as 'the war on terror'. Which is all well and good, because one of the primary impulses behind this FKATWOT series is the thought that the struggle formerly known as 'the war on terror' is still often spoken of as if it is a war on terror, and that's probably because, whatever else it is, it is sort of like a war on terror - speaking metaphorically of course, and with apologies, as always, for the crudeness of the term.
Anyway, it seems that the report I linked to the other day, carrying the news that 'war on terror' was no more and was to be replaced by the less militaristic-sounding 'overseas contingency operations' wasn't correct. Direct from a spokesman in the Pentagon the news now is that:
We are still actively engaged in a global war against terror.
Right on cue, no less than the President of the United States himself chimes in as follows:
So let me be clear: Al Qaeda and its allies - the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks - are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the United States homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan. And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban - or allows al Qaeda to go unchallenged - that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.
[T]his is not simply an American problem - far from it. It is, instead, an international security challenge of the highest order. Terrorist attacks in London and Bali were tied to al Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan, as were attacks in North Africa and the Middle East, in Islamabad and in Kabul. If there is a major attack on an Asian, European, or African city, it, too, is likely to have ties to al Qaeda's leadership in Pakistan. The safety of people around the world is at stake.
As President, my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people. We are not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future. We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and our allies, and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists.
So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That's the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: We will defeat you.
The war on terror is dead. Hello there, war on terror. What you got is FKATWOT - number 17 of that ilk.