Some people make a pretty big deal out of what exactly to call this military conflict that takes up so much front page space these days. Those of us who believe that it’s a war tend to call it the “War on Terror” although that’s kind of a nebulous phrase, considering that “Terror” is a battle tactic, not an entity per say. One could not, for instance, declare war on the blitzkrieg. Although some might be so bold as to declare war on fascism, which still exists in way too many places.
So what do we call it? We can’t call it a war on Islam, which would be wrong, as there are millions of rational and relatively peaceful Muslims in the world. We can’t really declare war on any particular nation state, as the main antagonists don’t really belong to one country or another. The closest thing we have to an enemy nation state would probably be Iran, but that hasn’t really heated up yet.
Is it a war on Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization? Perhaps, but I don’t think the administration has any intent on limiting this to one group of people, this is designed to target ANY organization that has designs on using terror against us or anyone else.
Can we call it a war against Islamo-fascism? Well, fascism does define a right wing oppressive dictatorship, and I guess that’s what Islamic terrorists would have in place had they their way. But it doesn’t quite cover it.
How about: “Any organized group of individuals who practice a particularly violent variant of Islam that actively works to get their way by terrorizing, bombing or beheading ordinary people, and you know who you are.”
Jonathan Rauch thinks that we should call it War on Jihadism, but I’m not sure that works either, as Jihad is a part of Islam lore and history that exists for all Muslims.