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It Won’t Be Long

The Military Times is reporting the discouraging news that the House Armed Services Committee, now controlled by Democrats, is fussing with the annual budget to expunge such undesirable phrases as “The Global War on Terror” and—here’s a tip of the hat to Tehran—“the long war.” The expurgation memo, composed for committee staffers and circulated on March 27, says that no such “colloquialism” will be permitted.

Neither “long war” nor the “Global War on Terrorism” is such a colloquialism, of course. They are terms of art that describe America’s present military struggles. The former has a long history and the latter has earned universal assent, even though it would be more accurate to name Islamist terror rather than terror in general. But neither is casual, and neither is terribly inaccurate.

The trouble? They’re Bush brands. I am sympathetic to the argument that American foreign policy may need to be purged of the Bush name come mid-January 2009, but the War on Terror—and the fact that it is a long haul burden—are two realities that Democrats have to face. In their recent ascendence, Democrats may be able successfully to frustrate the Iraq War, but the American people will not stand for a retreat to the mindset that treats terrorism as a police problem. In their hysteria, Democrats may be confusing exasperation with President Bush with support for the sort of pinprick terror policies of the Clinton days.

It is hard to believe Americans would endorse anything less than a policy that leads to the snuffing out of Islamist terror. The Democrats probably think otherwise. It won’t be long before we know the fate of the long war.

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