Apr 7, 2009

A Trojan horse of a different color

by Drew Menard

 The battle of Troy came to its gruesome finale after the Achaeans covertly hid themselves within a wooden horse in order to breach their enemy’s impenetrable walls. Recently, the War on Terror has ended, or so we are led to believe, through a similar sort of trickery, nestled deep within the bowels of a cleverly disguised euphemism.

Last week, the Pentagon received a memo from the Department of Defense’s office of security review, stating that “this administration prefers to avoid using the term ‘Long War’ or
‘Global War on Terror,’” according to the Washington Post.
In lieu of such unpleasant terms, the memo said, “Please use ‘Overseas Contingency Operation.’”

Boom. Bang. Voila. The War on Terror is now over. America’s Trojan horse is now in place. However, in this case, the Department of Defense is not hiding in their giant wooden horse. They are hiding behind it.

One of the issues I strongly supported President Barack Obama on during his presidential campaign was his stance on the war.

“Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: successfully ending the war. The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased,” Obama’s campaign Web site stated.
Apparently, “successfully ending” a war entails re-naming it so that the American people will believe that the war is indeed over.
This contemporary wooden horse is cleverly designed to disguise truth, in order to deceive those who live within the “mighty fortress” of America’s borders so that they will feel safe and secure once again.

I am not saying that we should let the government manipulate us with fear (as I believe the Bush administration was guilty of), however, I do not believe that we should allow it to manipulate us with candy-coated phrases, either. Especially when the candy coating is filled with splinters.

How dumb does Washington think Americans are? Does someone up on Capitol Hill honestly think that the war will just disappear if we start calling it a “contingency”?
Contingency, as defined by dictionary.com, is, “dependence on chance . . . uncertainty . . . a chance accident or possibility . . . (or) something incidental to a thing.”

Someone must have put the wooden horse together with scotch tape and cardboard, because America’s success in the Middle East has now been reduced to uncertainty and chance.

Or, perhaps the Obama administration was referring to the last part of the definition. America is no longer fighting a War on Terror, but rather doing “something incidental to a thing.” I hope no more “things” slip past airport security, or we could have a major global “incidental something” on our hands.

In all fairness to Obama’s administration (yes, I am being facetious), Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napaolitano said, in an interview with Spiegel Online, that the administration wants “to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.”

Kudos to them for trying, but there is a terrible flaw in the Obama administration’s strategy: its aim. If Americans are the ones behind the giant walls of defense, then why is the Department of Defense directing its covert ops towards them? If they are trying to end a war on terror, the government should be focusing its time and energy on infiltrating the enemy, not riding into town in a wooden pony hoping everyone will forget about what is actually going on.

After $864 billion (funds allocated to the War on Terror since Sept. 11, 2001), according to a recent Congressional Research Service report, the best solution the government could come up with to end the war was give it a new name. It only took a few planks and some nails to forge the right words together, and now a giant wooden horse beckons to Americans.

“(Obama) seeks to turn the ‘War on Terror’ into a simple accounting problem,” John Oliver said on the Daily Show. “And by calling the complete meltdown of America’s economy the ‘bank stabilization plan,’ he’s turned an accounting problem into a simple balance issue.”

And the tactical war-ending linguistics do not stop there.
In a recent speech, Napaolitano referred to “terrorism” as “man-caused disasters.”

I feel safer already. The recent threats on Washington, D.C. have lost their sting now that I read them in context – the worst thing a “man-caused disasterist” can do is “man-cause” a disaster. That doesn’t sound so bad.

I do not know if using rotting planks is the best way to support an army inside a giant steed, especially when that decoy is being used to thwart the understanding of its own brethren. America’s Trojan horse — excuse me, America’s concealed stratagem — needs a new direction, one which does not seek to deceive the hardworking people who have been supporting the cause all along.

Contact Drew Menard at


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