A recent post pointed out some of the apparent hypocrisy in Congressman Pete Hoekstra's statements relating to his political opponents, and fighting terrorism.
Lending more to the inherent idea of that post that Hoeskstra is just extremely partisan, rather than completely amiss on all the issues, Matt Yglesias, an influential commentator, notes that in 2008, apparently:
Peter Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, in an interview said the phrase ”war on terror” was the “dumbest term…you could use”. The Michigan lawmaker, who criticises the Bush administration for using an overly aggressive tone, says he has urged Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, not to use the expression.If that is the case, Hoekstra has earned at least a small modicum of credibility on the terrorism issue. He is right. It is a counter productive phrase:
One of the most important things that can be done in this effort to stem and eradicate sovereignless terrorism, is to make sure that those who engage in it are correctly painted as the lowly, common, psychotic criminals that they are, rather than as combatants in some sort of "war" or bigger effort, and not give recruiters and others ammunition for them to think that they are the "warrior combatants" that they like to think of themselves as.
Additionally, it is similarly imperative to classify, recognize, and most importantly of all, categorize this as an effort against radical terrorism, which happens to emanate from a radical, extremist, fringe of Islam, rather than even incidentally some sort of implicit condemnation of Islam itself. Though subtle, the term "war" even though it is teamed, in the phrase, with the word "terrorism" might again play into this broader concept, particularly if pains are not taken to correctly categorize this as just noted, rather potentially impugning or becoming suspicious of the broader religion itself.
Yglesias, on the other hand, doesn't see it:
Ever since the Bush administration first unveiled the term, my feeling has been that this is an overdebated issue and it doesn’t matter all that much one way or another.
Needless to say, we disagree.
But Yglesias goes on to note, however: "That said, 'war on terror' does seem to me to have a variety of bad implications, including the fact that it’s hard to see how you’re ever going to be able to say you’ve 'won' something like a 'war on terror.'”
But the idea that you "can't win"-- unless one is tying it to this inane idea that we are "at war" and so be acceptable as an excuse for the Constitution of the United States to now be weakened, when this "war" has no definable end and may well exist in perpetuity -- would not be the bad implication that strategically leaps to mind, as noted just above.