I realize Bush is not as clever a wordsmith as Clinton was, but many of Bush’s advisers are. Going in to disarm Iraq is not a “war” - it is an “enforcement action” of a UN resolution. Throwing around the word “war” is just stupid in this day and age. I am of the opinion that this has been our biggest mistake vis a vis Iraq. Is Congess planning on actually declaring war? Of course not (not to imply such an official declaration is the sole determinant of what a war is). It’s a war if you call it a war. It wasn’t a war when Clinton lauched cruise missiles at Iraq, nor was it a war when we ousted Milosevic. Rwanda wasn’t a war. I’ve never heard the Bay of Pigs referred to as a “war” before.
I’m all for getting rid of Saddam, and doing so as soon as practicable, but I think we’re being quite imprudent calling doing so “going to war.” Call it a police action, enforcement action, implementation of resolution compliance, or some other euphemism. A war is not fought every time some missiles are dropped. I realize there is some unfortunate precedent with the “Gulf War” but what we do now is just enforcing the contractual terms that ended that “war” … not starting a whole new war.
Categorizing an action as a “war” brings about much more complaining and instantly makes the stakes higher. We’d have many more allies and much more support if we put the right spin on what we plan to do (whatever it may be). It’s a psychological thing. The opposite of war is peace (and we all love that), but what’s the opposite of an enforcement action?
Am I wrong here?