Perle's Argument Essay: The War On Terrorism

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The term "war on terror" is ubiquitous, but the meaning of the word "war" has evolved. For most of the last 2,000 years, war has meant something very conventional and traditional. The current war on terror, however, is a completely unconventional, non-traditional type of conflict. Georgetown University historian Bruce Hoffman says unlike traditional wars, the war on terror does not have a clear beginning and an end. "[War] ends with the vanquishing of an opponent, with some form or armistice or truce — some kind of surrender instrument or document," Hoffman says. But in the war on terror, there's no specific battlefield and the enemy isn't an army. "It's a war without boundaries," Hoffman says. "It's a war directed against multiple enemies, not just one adversary." A Hard War…show more content…
11, 2001: "We will stay on the offense against the terrorists, fighting them abroad so we do not have to face them here at home." Former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle believes the message sends a mixed signal. "It's certainly true the president has not succeeded in inspiring the belief that we face an existential threat," says Perle. "The problem with the term 'war on terrorism' is it leaves the enemy ill defined." A few weeks ago, one of the president's advisors told NPR that Mr. Bush never wanted to burden the public with the war; that, in his mind, he was hired by the American people to do the job on their behalf. Gingrich says the President is placed in an awkward position. "I think the President is torn between reassuring us that he's managing the war and warning us that it's a real war," says Gingrich. "You have organized opponents who want to kill you — they're gathering resources and coordinating to try to kill you — and I think to try to describe it as anything but a war, is remarkably misleading." The War with No

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