I was quite pleased when I read in a posting to a mailing list that the British government was no longer going to use the phrase “war on terror.” [SPOILER ALERT: The posting was wrong.] The post pointed to an article in the Daily Mail quoted at length by Military.com). It said:
The words “war on terror” will no longer be used by the British government to describe attacks on the public, the country’s chief prosecutor said Dec. 27.
Sir Ken Macdonald said terrorist fanatics were not soldiers fighting a war but simply members of an aimless “death cult.”
The Director of Public Prosecutions said: ‘We resist the language of warfare, and I think the government has moved on this. It no longer uses this sort of language.”
London is not a battlefield, he said.
“The people who were murdered on July 7 were not the victims of war. The men who killed them were not soldiers,” Macdonald said. “They were fantasists, narcissists, murderers and criminals and need to be responded to in that way.”
His remarks signal a change in emphasis across Whitehall, where the “war on terror” language has officially been ditched.
Ah, someone speaking sense! Except it seemed odd to me that the Director of Public Prosecutions would get to decide how the British government is going to characterize issues of defense. So, I checked the Daily Mail site and the best I could come up with was an article from last January in which Sir Ken talked about the language he thinks the government should use, not a decision by the government about the language that it will use.
If you can come up with an actual source for this, I’d be very happy to be acknowledge your superior googling skills and celebrate this one small step towards a sensible approach to peace and security.
(BTW, I think the Military.com article got to posted to the mailing list I’m on via Dave Farber’s high-visibility mailing list.)