Hot on the heels of forbidding the use of the word "terrorism" and substituting "man caused disaster" (What? Not "person caused disaster?" Apparently it's ok to use "man" when we're talking about blowing people up.) comes a directive from the Pentagon that would substitute the admittedly awkward "War on Terror" for something much less dramatic if not more descriptive; "Overseas Contingency Operation."
The Obama administration appears to be backing away from the phrase "global war on terror," a signature rhetorical legacy of its predecessor.
In a memo e-mailed this week to Pentagon staff members, the Defense Department's office of security review noted that "this administration prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' [GWOT.] Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation.' "
The memo said the direction came from the Office of Management and Budget, the executive-branch agency that reviews the public testimony of administration officials before it is delivered.
Not so, said Kenneth Baer, an OMB spokesman.
"There was no memo, no guidance," Baer said yesterday. "This is the opinion of a career civil servant."
Coincidentally or not, senior administration officials had been publicly using the phrase "overseas contingency operations" in a war context for roughly a month before the e-mail was sent.
I would say the chances of this being a "coincidence" are pretty close to zero. Some Obamabot bureaucrat evidently got it in his head to try and lay down the law about the right nomenclature to use when discussing the previously acceptable term War on Terror.
Don't worry. I don't plan on changing my use of the terms "terrorist" or "GWOT" because these are serious matters and I would probably end up giggling if I talked about "man caused disasters" instead of a terrorist attack that cost the lives of thousands of people.
The question is, how government spokesmen keep a straight face when using the new terms.