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Document drop: Whitewashing the “Global War on Terror” out of existence

By Michelle Malkin  •  March 26, 2009 02:06 PM

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported on the Obama administration’s vehement denial that it is backing away from the phrase “Global War on Terror.” The phrase has long been a source of debate and rancor – not just on the left, but also on our side because it omits the important, specific context of global jihad and dhimmitude that we are supposed to be combatting.

Still, “Global War on Terror” is far superior to what the Obama White House has concocted. Despite the denials, military officials have gotten their instructions. A military source forwarded me an internal e-mail trail that illuminates the whitewashing. So long, “Global War on Terror.” Hello, [blank].

To quote from one of the messages below: “There is no ‘replacement’ term offered.”


—–Original Message—–
From: Sholtis, Tadd Lt Col SAF/PAO
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:22 AM
Subject: Status of “GWOT”

Sir/Ma’am-The SAF/PAO press desk has received numerous queries from the field this week about whether “Global War on Terrorism” or “GWOT” remains an acceptable term and, if not, what replaced it. At this point, I would not expect an announcement from on high that will provide clarity on this issue in the near future. We will notify you if that changes.

The story in today’s Washington Post…accurately captures the current status of the terminology debate.

About the best we can say right now is that the long decline of “GWOT” as a useful term of reference appears to be speeding up, particularly in interagency and Congressional communication; however, some kind of big announcement on an official switch is unlikely, since it tends to draw the ire of critics who insist we remain at war (recent example, http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=9116). So “GWOT” may just die a slow and quiet death.

Therefore, if units are being pushed to provide guidance to commanders, the PAO recommendation is that there’s no need to update existing documents to eliminate GWOT, but future documents should avoid or at least minimize use of the term. In addition to “overseas contingency operations”-which was an improvised term during this year’s debate on budget supplements-there are enough concise, plain-English descriptions (“current operations,” “operations in Afghanistan and Iraq,” “today’s joint fight,” “irregular warfare,” etc.) that there’s no urgent need for a new acronym. Airmen should be able to explain themselves in writing or speaking in a way that doesn’t require continued reference to either “GWOT” or an official replacement.


Lt Col Tadd Sholtis
Deputy Chief, Current Operations
Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs

—-Original Message—–
From: Severns, John Capt USAF AETC HQAETC/PAO
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:45 AM
Subject: I can’t believe it’s not GWOT!


Please see the guidance below from SAF/PA regarding the use of the term “Global War on Terror” in your products.

BLUF: You may leave the term in old or existing documents. New products should seek to use other terms. Possible terms include the popular-but-unwieldy “Overseas Contingency Operations,” as well as old standbys like “Current Operations,” “Today’s Joint Fight,” and “Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Please let us know if you have any questions whatsoever.


John Severns

Capt. John Severns
AETC Public Affairs

—–Original Message—–
From: Woodward, George R Civ USAF AETC 82 TRW/PA
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:50 AM
Subject: FW: Use of “GWOT” terminology


Thought this might be of interest. We’re getting guidance to move away from use of “Global War on Terror” terminology. I left the whole trail attached, but the bottom line is that we’re supposed to stop using the term, but don’t have to pull it from existing documents. There is no “replacement” term

George Woodward
Director, Public Affairs

—–Original Message—–
From: Rosales, Rebecca A Civ USAF AETC 363 TRS/CCS
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 11:05 AM
To: All 363 TRS Personnel
Subject: FW: Use of “GWOT” terminology

520 Missile Rd, Bldg 1025
Sheppard AFB TX 76311-2261

—–Original Message—–
From: Wilson, Stella T Civ USAF AETC 82 TRW/CCS
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:54 AM
To: All 82 TRW Secretaries; All 82 TRW Executive Officers
Cc: Norsworthy, David W Col USAF AETC 82 TRW/CV; Mannon, Otis G BrigGen USAF
AETC 82 TRW/CC; Sallinger, Kenneth W CMSgt USAF AETC 82 TRW/CCC; Albrecht,
Subject: FW: Use of “GWOT” terminology

ALCON — please see the below concerning the use of GWOT.

Stella Wilson

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