US government officials begin to prepare Americans for life after the Bush administration, and the end of the 'War On Terror' as we know it.
A senior official at the Department of Homeland Security worries (very publicly) that somehow, despite all the promises of freedom and democracy, too many Muslims believe the 'War On Terror' is actually a war against Islam.
From the Financial Times :
Crazy, paranoid Muslims. They think the 'War on Terror' is some kind of new Crusade.
The west needs a more comprehensive strategy to counter al-Qaeda propaganda and the US should stop using the term “war on terror”, according to a top intelligence official.
Charles Allen, the senior intelligence official at the Department of Homeland Security, says the phrase is counter-productive because it creates “animus” in Islamic countries.
“[It] has nothing to do with political correctness,” Mr Allen said in an interview. “It is interpreted in the Muslim world as a war on Islam and we don’t need this.”
President George W. Bush made “war on terror” one of his stock phrases in the wake of the September 11 attacks in 2001. But there is disagreement in Washington, including among his own administration, over whether officials should use the term.Peter Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, in an interview said the phrase ”war on terror” was the “dumbest term…you could use”.
While the military in general tends to echo the langauge of the president, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs who recently met with moderate Muslim leaders to hear their concerns, tries to ensure his language does not create the perception of a war against Islam, Captain John Kirby, his spokesman, said.
While US officials have warned about an increasing potential for home-grown terrorism, Mr Allen welcomed the results of a 2007 study by the Pew Research Center, which found that the vast majority of US Muslims were concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism and had an unfavourable view of al-Qaeda.
A recent memo from the homeland security department’s office for civil rights and civil liberties echoed some of these concerns. The memo said terminology employed by the US government should “avoid helping the terrorists by inflating the religious bases and glamorous appeal of their ideology” and “must be properly calibrated to diminish the recruitment efforts of extremists who argue that the west is at war with Islam”.
Now where in the hell did they ever get that lunatic idea?
President George W. Bush, September 16, 2001 :