Tuesday, July 26, 2005

This Is Why We Pay ’Em the Big Bucks

[[H U H ?]] * Do you think the War on Terrorism is going badly? Are you upset by nightly TV news images of American soldiers being killed in Iraq, London subway trains being twisted by explosions, Algerian diplomats being kidnapped by insurgents in Baghdad, and corpses being strewn about the resort at Sharm el Sheik, Egypt? Well, folks, rest assured that the Bush administration has a solution: give the War on Terrorism a spiffy new name! That’s right, from now on the War on Terrorism will officially be known as the “Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism.” Don’t you feel safer already, knowing that George W. Bush has hauled out the semantic heavy artillery to put down the evildoers?

As The New York Times reports, “The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission ...”

The best commentary yet on this slogan-retooling comes from Slate’s Fred Kaplan, who is especially interested in a paragraph from the Times story, explaining the thinking behind this oh-so-crucial moniker manipulation. As the Times explains, “Administration and Pentagon officials say the revamped campaign has grown out of meetings of President Bush’s senior national security advisers that began in January, and it reflects the evolution in Mr. Bush’s own thinking nearly four years after the Sept. 11 attacks.” To which Kaplan responds:
It took four years for the president of the United States to realize that fighting terrorism has a political component? It took six months for his senior advisers to retool a slogan? We are witnessing that rare occasion when the phrase “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry” can be uttered without lapsing into cliché.
In case you missed it, this change in name doesn’t accompany any actual change in strategy to curb terrorist attacks around the world. As Salon notes, it’s “just a revised branding campaign, a new way to sell old soap. The War on Terrorism--same ineffective policy, now with a catchier name!” And you wonder why Americans are cynical ...


Anonymous said...

You absolutely cannot be serious.


J. Kingston Pierce said...

Sadly, I am not making up Bush's rebranding of the War on Terrorism. Check out the links. We have witnessed the conquering of common sense by commercial propagandizing.