Obama ends war on a noun: US Government will no longer use the term "War on Terror" - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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Obama ends war on a noun: US Government will no longer use the term "War on Terror"

TNT, sweetie, you want change?

Bush's 'war on terror' comes to a sudden end
Obama signals that America's reach in battling enemies will not be limitless

By Dana Priest

updated 4:13 a.m. CT, Fri., Jan. 23, 2009
WASHINGTON - President Obama yesterday eliminated the most controversial tools employed by his predecessor against terrorism suspects. With the stroke of his pen, he effectively declared an end to the "war on terror," as President George W. Bush had defined it, signaling to the world that the reach of the U.S. government in battling its enemies will not be limitless.

While Obama says he has no plans to diminish counterterrorism operations abroad, the notion that a president can circumvent long-standing U.S. laws simply by declaring war was halted by executive order in the Oval Office.

Key components of the secret structure developed under Bush are being swept away: The military's Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility, where the rights of habeas corpus and due process had been denied detainees, will close, and the CIA is now prohibited from maintaining its own overseas prisons. And in a broad swipe at the Bush administration's lawyers, Obama nullified every legal order and opinion on interrogations issued by any lawyer in the executive branch after Sept. 11, 2001.

It was a swift and sudden end to an era that was slowly drawing to a close anyway, as public sentiment grew against perceived abuses of government power. The feisty debate over the tactics employed against al-Qaeda began more than six years ago as whispers among confidants with access to the nation's most tightly held secrets. At the time, there was consensus in Congress and among the public that the United States would be attacked again and that government should do what was necessary to thwart the threat.

Disappearances
The CIA, which had taken the lead on counterterrorism operations worldwide, asked intelligence contacts around the globe to help its teams of covert operatives and clandestine military units identify, kill or capture terrorism suspects. They set up their first interrogation center in a compound walled off by black canvas at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, and more at tiny bases throughout that country, where detainees could be questioned outside military rules and the protocols of the Geneva Conventions, which lay out the standards for treatment of prisoners of war.

As the CIA recruited young case officers, polygraphers and medical personnel to work on interrogation teams, the agency's leaders asked its allies in Thailand and Eastern Europe to set up secret prisons where people such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh could be held in isolation and subjected to extreme sleep and sensory deprivation, waterboarding and sexual humiliation. These tactics are not permitted under military rules or the Geneva Conventions.

Over time, a tiny circle of federal employees outside these teams got access to some of the reports of interrogations. Some were pleased by the new aggressiveness. Others were horrified. They began to push back gingerly, as did an even smaller number of congressional officials briefed on the reports.

Eventually their worries reached a handful of reporters trying to confirm rumors of people who seemed to have disappeared: a Pakistani microbiologist spirited away in the dead of night in Indonesia. An Afghan prisoner frozen to death at a base code-named the Salt Pit. A German citizen who did not get back on his bus at a border crossing in Macedonia.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Page 2

Bush's 'war on terror' comes to a sudden end


Front companies and fictitious people were used to hide a system of aircraft that carried terrorism suspects to "undisclosed locations" and to third countries under a little-known practice called rendition.

Reporters Unlike the federal employees, who could go to jail for disclosing the classified program, the reporters and their news outlets were protected by the Constitution -- but not from government pressure. Then-CIA Director Porter J. Goss and, later, Bush summoned top editors of The Washington Post to press their case against disclosing the existence of the secret prison network.

The published reports in The Post and elsewhere earned the news media sharp recriminations from the administration, the Republican leadership in Congress and the public. Government leak investigations were launched. Bush administration officials argued that such methods and operations were necessary to effectively thwart terrorism, noting to this day that there have been no major attacks since 2001.


If there were dissenters back then, they were largely silent.

But in Europe, the reports set off a firestorm of criticism and government investigations in nearly every capital. Washington was pressured to move prisoners out of the secret jails. U.S. government officials scattered throughout the national security and foreign policy agencies scrambled to learn more about operations they knew little about. A growing chorus within the CIA and the State Department began to question how long the secret system of detention and interrogation could survive, and drew up plans for an alternative.

By then, the color-coded terrorist alerts had ended. Police disappeared from roadblocks around the Capitol. Washington the fortress drew millions of visitors again. Some Democratic members of Congress replaced the "war on terror" phraseology with language indicating vigilance and persistence, but not unending combat and military-only options.

On Sept. 6, 2006, Bush announced the transfer of 14 "high-value detainees" from secret prisons to Guantanamo. He suspended the CIA program, but defended its utility and reserved the right to reopen it. The secret was officially out.

Questioning, dissent
Over the next 2 1/2 years, as Democrats gained power in Congress, as the violence in Iraq sapped public support for the president and as the fear of another terrorist attack receded, the debate over secret prisons, renditions and harsh interrogations grew louder. Presidential candidates felt comfortable to include these sensitive subjects in the debate on the efficiency of Bush's war against terrorists, and even on the notion that it was still a war.

During his campaign and again in his inaugural address Tuesday, Obama used a different lexicon to describe operations to defeat terrorists. "As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals," he said. ". . . And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 08:49 AM
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...so now the terrorists are going to play fair and not target innocent civilians and they are going to follow the rules of the Geneva Convention, specifically the fourth, protecting civilians? They’ll start taking care of their prisoners of war, and stop torturing and decapitating our servicemen and citizens that they capture, relative to the third and the fourth convention treaty? I disagree when we know we are interrogating a known terrorist. We aren’t going to win the hearts and minds of the terrorists, we must focus on winning over the civilians and the young minds if we ever want to win this war….that is a war, no matter what you call it, and will continue until we do exactly that.

OK, but I do agree the power of these secret units need to be checked and regulated.

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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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I don't see how you infer that from it. It is just admission of reality. You can't make war on a noun, it's stupid. We have specific problems that need to be identified and dealt with, and where necessary we need to take the appropriate action. Instead, we have been telling the world all this "with us or against us" crap as we use the "war on terror" bullshit line as an excuse for all kinds of things, like invading countries that had nothing to do with 9-11. In the end, who knows what these guys have been doing. In Iraq, they claimed that Iraqi socialists, who are the exact opposite politically from Al Queda, were "terrorists" and then killed them, an act that benefitted oil companies and Iran. Why did they do that?

And who else did they get away with doing that to? The entire thing has been a murky bunch of bullshit that has, as the article states, done more damage to our relationships with our allies then anything else and because that causes them not to want to cooperate with us, it damages our attempt to actually address the real terrorists. For the most part, the "War on Terror" was just a name for a propaganda machine. It really is time for the entire propaganda machine built by Bush to come to an end and for all of us to know and see what is being done in our names, we live in America, where the government is supposed to represent and report to the people, not the other way around. I think the entire thing has been a smokescreen to allow the oil fascists to kill their political and business enemies around the world. Venzueala, Syria, they were next on the plate.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address

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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 10:12 AM
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Thank goodness. This war against an emotion was just silliness. How anyone could fight a war against terror has always been beyond me.

It is The War Against Terrorists. But then again, Bushie was a C- student so I can see where he [and of course the Shrinking28] misunderthunk that one.

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Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.
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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 10:16 AM
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Never predismiss good thunkerisms without due constipation.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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That sounds like a misestimation.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 10:40 AM
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Feelthelove,
I agree with most of what you wrote, but don't you think we're already in it deep...no matter how we got to where we're at.

Long before 9/11/2001. I don’t believe it’s going to go away because we stop fighting. The hatred of our country goes too deep to solve (with the terrorists), and for the fanatic terrorist, can’t be changed unless ala himself tells them to change.

I strongly feel we need to deal with the terrorists like its war. But we must work harder to win the hearts and minds of all others.

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post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by lovnlife View Post
Feelthelove,
I agree with most of what you wrote, but don't you think we're already in it deep...no matter how we got to where we're at.

Long before 9/11/2001. I don’t believe it’s going to go away because we stop fighting. The hatred of our country goes too deep to solve, and for the fanatic terrorist, can’t be changed unless ala himself tells them to change.

I strongly feel we need to deal with the terrorists like its war. But we must work harder to win the hearts and minds of all others.
That's where you're wrong. It is easily solved.

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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 01-23-2009, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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I've worked in the energy industry long enough to know that when it comes to the Muslim world we have really, really screwed up. It began with the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Iran back in the 50's in a coup engineered by the oil companies and the CIA, and it was done because the Iranians were about to nationalize their oil assets. It was the beginning of the end, and another chapter in American and British support of a motley collection of fascists who have no real support from their people and rule thanks to the guns and weapons we give them, to use on their own people. It continued in Iraq, where a leftist secular government was painted with the handy little "War on terror" brush and it's citizens massacred for a lie so THAT government could be stopped from nationalizing the last large pool of easily-to-take oil left on earth. In the end, it's a disaster. Look at the ludicrousness of our current comedy put on the Bush Comedy Troupe:

The 9-11 hijackers were made up of 19 Saudi citizens, pissed off because they live in the most repressed society on Earth, a place that has no elections, a brutal secret police force, and a populace living in poverty while their rulers live in extravant luxury, and whose main purpose in life is to live in symbiotic love with American and British oil companies, who, like the Mafia, are running what amounts to a protection racket. Bush claims he wants to "fight terror by spreading Democracy". Why then, given the situation in "Saudi" Arabia, did he attack Iraq? Why didn't he at the very least call for the downfall of the Saud family in Arabia? The reason? It was all a sham, a comedy show. The Saud family, the cause of the rise of Al Queda, a bunch of fucking fascists that our own Founding Fathers would have hung, got the real benefit from the "war on terror". We really didn't fight terrorism at all. Bin Laden got a nice retirement home in Pakistan, Al Queda is now building germ weapons in Algeria, we now have a generation of future terrorists coming from Iraq to join up, for a war, it sure has been a failure. Maybe now we can start.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address

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