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A Silent Rebuke Of “The War On Terrorism”

In a  measured East Room address late yesterday, President Obama announced the death  of Osama bin Laden and took a somber look back at Sept. 11, 2001, a  tragically beautiful day on the East Coast. A “cloudless sky”  set the scene for nearly three thousand deaths and two fallen towers by the  time it was done.

Listening  for what the president didn’t say in speaking to the nation, I came away  impressed with his choice of words. He deftly left out three of them:  “war on terror.” Cutting that phrase out of the political  lexicon is a graceful, silent rebuke to its authors. Never has that been  seen in a clearer light as last night. It’s far from just semantic.

Even  in his winning mode, Obama disowned that particular dog of war—and did not  let “terror” bark. Good for him, good for the nation, good for the  world. President George W. Bush and his dark side, Dick Cheney, used this  vague construct constantly and carelessly from day one, while the ruins of  September 11 were still smoking.

Waging  a “war on terror” made the American people estranged from  each other and made the whole world seem like a more dangerous place. Our  initial unity after the September 11 attacks dissolved in a sea of stress and  anxiety. The “war on terror” ran counter to our can-do  spirit because, we heard, there was nothing we could do to fight terrorism, but  go shopping. So much for sacrifices. Lots of dark acts were  committed in the name of the “war on terror,” often literally in the  dark and far from where we live.

As  citizens, we have no full reckoning of what the “war on terror”  was used to justify, no receipt for its cost in lives, U.S. treasury dollars,  and our fallen place in the world community. Sunday’s late-night speech  indicated Obama has given this matter serious thought and its fair due.  He’s sending out signals to friends and foes alike that the Wild West  doesn’t live at the White House anymore, not even on a day when he achieved  Bush’s fondest dream as president. In more specific language, he simply  spoke of our “war against al-Qaeda.” How sweet it was to watch and to hear his well-chosen words that steered clear of “with us or against  us,” “dead or alive,” or bragging about being the  greatest nation. Gloating does not become a president.

Speaking  of Bush, his official statement indicated he knew “war on terror” is no longer acceptable in policy parleys, so he changed it to  “fight against terrorism.” Do they have enough crow down there  in Texas for him?

Save  some for the prince of darkness, too.

By: Jamie Stiehm, U. S. News and World Report, May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011 Posted by | 911, Foreign Policy, Ground Zero, Homeland Security, Islam, Justice, Military Intervention, Politics, President Obama, Terrorism | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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