A War by Any Other Name

From the Global War on Terror to the global struggle against violent extremists

Is the "War on Terror" passé? Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has started to talk more about a "global struggle against violent extremists." Terrorism experts, who for years have requested more nuanced language, are pleased. "It's a recognition that the real challenge isn't just capturing and killing the bad guys but breaking the cycle of recruitment and regeneration," says the Rand Corporation's Bruce Hoffman. "Better late than never."

The U.S. has a long history of fighting wars on nouns. In the 1930s, F.D.R. fought a war on crime. Lyndon Johnson launched a war on poverty in 1964. In the '70s, Richard Nixon started...

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