PRESIDENT Bush thinks it is a war on terror or a global war on terror. But US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld prefers that it should be known as the global struggle against violent extremism. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, tends to Mr Rumsfeld's view because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution. And Mr Bush's national security adviser, Stephen J Hadley, believes that the conflict is more than just a military war on terror. What's going on here? The two men principally concerned with the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent fighting there apparently prefer to adopt the Basil Fawlty approach by taking care not to mention the war. But what about the US forces in Iraq? If you ask them if they think they are engaged in a global struggle against violent extremism their replies would not be printable. In his speech in Texas on Wednesday, before starting his August vacation, Mr Bush told members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, Make no mistake about it, we are at war. We're at war with an enemy that attacked us on September 11, 2001. We're at war against an enemy that, since that day, has continued to kill. The inevitable policy cracks in the Bush administration are seldom rehearsed in public so the fact that Mr Rumsfeld and General Myers can be seen to be marching out of step with their Commander in Chief must be worthy of comment. The struggle against violent extremism formulation has apparently been in the making for some weeks although it is not clear who started it. In his speech this week Mr Bush used war on terror five times, thus making clear that he has not changed his mind concerning what it's all about, and his vigorous body language during the speech, as seen on television, suggested that he wants no more argument on the matter. This is not, of course, just to do with semantics. Those shying away from war are recognising, belatedly, that neither terrorism nor violent extremism will in the end by defeated by military means alone.
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