Does changing the name Global War on Terror make any difference?
The Obama administration appears to have decided to stop using the name Global War on Terror (GWOT) and replace it with Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) does this make any difference on the ground?
GWoT was misnamed
The Global war on terror mischaracterises the nature of the threat, it implied that Al Quaeda and and anti American militant groups are united in a war on the United States and in turn the United States had to fight back globally whereas the reality is that the war is many smaller local campaigns. The President for the Center for a New American Security said "We are facing a number of different insurgencies around the globe -- some have local causes, some of them are transnational. Viewing them all through one lens distorts the picture and magnifies the enemy."[[‘Global War on Terror is given new name’, Washington Post, Wednesday, March 25, 2009 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/24/AR2009032402818.html?wprss=rss_politics/administration%5D%5D
The term the 'global war on terror' was not designed to accurately describe any single operation, but rather the change in mindset that 9/11 had forced. The post-Westphalian world order of nation-states was no longer applicable to the nascent security threats posed by terrorist organizations. Hence, the term was designed as a expansive description of firstly the global reach of terrorism, the need for overseas operations to flush them out and the tactics employed that had so shocked the consciences of the US public.
become tied with the underside of the fight against extreemism
The Name was tied in to other things that damaged the US’s standing in the world, Global War on Terror implied Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary rendition and attacks on civil liberties that had become the dark side of the ‘Global War’. [[http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/03/obama-words.html]]
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano argues "Although I did not use the word 'terrorism,' I referred to 'man-caused' disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur."[[The Haze Administration, Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2009 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123879985817588375.html%5D%5D
haze of obfuscation
The change from Global War on Terror to Overseas Contingency Operation is a change from something that is clear in its meaning to everyone to something that only those involved in the military are likely to understand. Such a change in name does not necessarily lead to a change in meaning. They are changing the label not the war.[[WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123879985817588375.html%5D%5D
Change in pentagon priorities
The preliminary Defense Department budget announced by Defense Secretary Robert Gates on April 6th was a change away from conventional warfare towards making counterinsurgency and low-intensity conflict the primary mission of the US military. The means that far from moving away from the Global War of Terrorism the pentagon is preparing to fight it over the long term. This involves cutting costly equipment such as the F22 Raptor that is to fight conventional wars and redirecting the money to predator drones and helicoptors that are considered essential to fighting irregular warfare.[[Michael T. Klare, The Gates Revolution, The Nation, (April 15, 2009), http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090504/klare%5D%5D
What do you think?