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The War on Terror Is Over

We may not be hearing much about that vague "war on terror" anymore. While Obama did use the phrase in his remarks to the Pentagon last week,...


We may not be hearing much about that vague "war on terror" anymore. While Obama did use the phrase in his remarks to the Pentagon last week, other recent examples of its use by Barack and members of his administration are rare. It seems like they're abandoning it.In a great New York Times op-ed today, Roger Cohen explains how this corresponds to the new mindset Obama's bringing to the Middle East:The new president's abandonment of post-9/11 Bush doctrine is a critical breakthrough. It resolves nothing but opens the way for a rapprochement with a Muslim world long cast into the "against-us" camp. Nothing good in Israel-Palestine, Afghanistan or Iran could happen with that Manichean chasm.Obama said, "The language we use matters." It does. He said he would be "very clear in distinguishing between organizations like Al Qaeda-that espouse violence, espouse terror and act on it-and people who may disagree with my administration and certain actions, or may have a particular viewpoint in terms of how their countries should develop. We can have legitimate disagreements but still be respectful."Bush liked to distinguish between terrorists and the moderate, freedom-loving Muslims of his imagination. Obama makes a much more important distinction here: between those bent on the violent destruction of America and those who merely dislike, differ from or have been disappointed by America.Of course "terror," as an abstraction, is impossible to eradicate, and it certainly can't be killed by armies, so scrapping the phrase "war on terror" seems like a great first step in defining our enemies, goals, and strategies.
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