Has Obama ended the “war on terror”?

 A MotherJones writer poses the question to Robert Gibbs:

At Robert Gibbs’ first briefing as White House press secretary on Thursday afternoon, I asked if the president had booted the war metaphor. Gibbs replied that Obama had used language that was consistent with his inaugural address. In that speech, Obama had indeed said that “our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” But he did not use the standard “war on terror” phrase. Instead he threw the word “war” against a specific target.

He then offers a handy summation:

He’s obviously not allergic to the term. But it’s not the description he reaches for first when he publicly discusses the matter.

Foreign Policy isn’t buying it:

The war on terror has been the country’s defining national security narrative since 9/11, and politicians across the political spectrum have paid obeisance to it.

Further in, they display unusually high cynicism too:

Anti-Americanism thrives, not because others misunderstand the United States, but because they perceive its aims and tactics all too well.

I don’t know what to make of that statement; I generally hate the casting-off of criticism of the US as simply being the far-left or extreme liberalism (Rev. Wright comes to mind), but this just seems to pervasive, too sweeping of a statement to reveal anything but a posture, an attitude…almost an anger at the USA.  Anger is often appropriate, if our country betrays its principles in the name of violence or exploitation, but it needs to be closely associated with its source (the action or policies worthy of anger).  Here it just seems like a verdict has been rendered and the US will always deserve Anti-Americanism.  The whole tone of this article is just surprisingly cynical (partic. toward Barackstar).

The AFP notes that US editorialists are saying Obama’s actions signify the “end”.  I just love this part:

“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 September 11, 2001”

But wait…apparently, Obama’s DOJ lawyers now have to defend John Yoo in the suit brought against him by former captive Jose Padilla. 

The suit contends that Yoo’s legal opinions authorized Bush to order Padilla’s detention in a Navy brig in South Carolina and encouraged military officials to subject Padilla to aggressive interrogation techniques, including death threats and long-term sensory deprivation…The two cases raise the question of how aggressively the Obama administration intends to defend alleged legal excesses of the Bush administration in the war on terror.

Well, DO current DOJ lawyers have to defend potential crimes of a previous admin that they believe were illegal??  The Politico piece linked above has a lot on this unusual, conflicted position.  One of Bush’s former lawyers expects them to win the case for Yoo:

“There are just all kinds of doctrines that protect government officials, even when they’re wrong,” he said. “The dirty little secret here is that the United States government has enduring institutional interests that carry over from administration to administration and almost always dictate the position the government takes.”


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