GWOT Retired, Long National Nightmare Over

March 31, 2009 5:22 a.m.
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Our long national nightmare is finally over (probably), and we may have an anonymous bureaucrat in the Office of Management and Budget to thank for it. Last week, it was reported that he (or she) sent a memo to the Pentagon suggesting that the White House had had enough with the term Global War on Terror (GWOT) and would henceforth prefer the term Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).

Soon enough, though, reporters got wind of it and administration officials–OMB chief Peter Orszag and Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell–began walking the claim back.

But today, none other than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirms it: Whether a directive’s been issued or not, the administration has dropped GWOT from its lexicon.“I haven’t gotten any directive about using it or not using it…. The administration has stopped using the phrase and I think that speaks for itself,” said Clinton while en route to the Hague.

Now, this doesn’t mean the White House isn’t having a hard time quitting their old friend GWOT. Just last week, when it rolled out its new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, officials released a summary memo announcing that their involvement in Pakistan would be linked to that country’s “performance against terror”.

But breaking up has always been hard to do. No word yet on what, if anything will replace GWOT. So far the only named alternatives are the aforementioned, but boring, OCO and the extremely cumbersome Campaign Against Extremists Who Wish To Do Us Harm. Or CAEWWTDUH. Perhaps TPM readers should weigh in–surely y’all can come up with something better.

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