25 March 2009

What's in a name? Quite a bit, actually

A few weeks ago, I ridiculed whoever in the Army was responsible for naming wars, particularly poking fun at the term "The Global War on Terror". Turns out that top minds in the military and civil government were already doing the same. David Kilcullen, for example, always puts the term in "quotation marks", much like one would do for terms like "laser" and "Death Star".

I can't say that I was a fan of the term "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism", notable only for the acronym "GSAVE". Additionally, I always despised the term "The Long War", which not only sounded a little too much like George Orwell's "Perpetual War", but also because "The Long War" was always given the movie-like tagline of "the generation-long struggle against [something or other]". That's great if you're a policymaker above military age and aren't giving up your youth. However, the rest of us don't like looking forward to twenty years of deploying for a year, returning for eighteen months, and repeating as necessary. So yeah, down with that "Long War".

The Washington Post article linked above announces that current overseas conflicts are now referred to as overseas contingency operations. Which isn't catchy, and it's vague. Still, I like it better than "The Long War".

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