The U.S. is no longer waging a "global war on terror," according to an official memo.
But it’s not that the terror threat has ended. In a memo e-mailed this week to Pentagon staff members, the Defense Department’s office of security review stated that “this administration prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' [GWOT]. Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation.'"
That phrase has already been heard in Congress, The Washington Post reported. Last week Craig Duehring, assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower, said in congressional testimony: “Key battlefield monetary incentives [have] allowed the Air Force to meet the demands of overseas contingency operations even as requirements continue to grow.”
However, the origin of the wording change is unclear. The memo said it came from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which reviews the public testimony of administration officials before it is delivered. The memo advised Pentagon personnel to “please pass this onto your speechwriters and try to catch this change before statements make it to OMB.”
But OMB spokesman Kenneth Baer said: “There was no memo, no guidance. This is the opinion of a career civil servant.”
The Bush administration adopted the phrase “global war on terror” shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and during his second term President Bush spurned an effort by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to change the wording to “global struggle against violent extremism.”
But a government directive last year did instruct Americans in the counter-terrorism and diplomatic communities not to use the words “jihadist” or “mujahideen” to describe terrorists, and instead to use “violent extremist.”
It also banned the term “Islamo-fascist” on the grounds that it is “considered offensive by many Muslims.”
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