Eliot Cohen wrote: “Political people often dislike calling things by their names. Truth, particularly in wartime, is so unpleasant that we drape it in a veil of evasions, and the right naming of things is far from a simple task.” Like the Global War on Terror or GWOT…
Back in November, 2001 Cohen introduced the idea of ‘fessing up in World War IV – Let’s call this conflict what it is.
Somehow I also failed to note a conference which took place September 29, 2004 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. “World War IV: Why We Fight, Whom We Fight, How We Fight,” sponsored by the Committee on the Present Danger and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies was promoted in an announcement which read:
“The Cold War is now being called by some “World War III” because it was global, had an ideological basis, involved both military and non-military actions, required skill and the mobilization of extensive resources and lasted for years. Today’s “war on terrorism” has the same elements, hence a broader name, “World War IV.” Our speakers will explore its antecedents, its methods and its possible outcome.”
Those speakers included Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Senator Joseph Lieberman (honorary co-chair of the Committee on the Present Danger) among others.
But today I discovered an extensive recent work entitled, Which War Is This Anyway? Are We in World War IV? in which Tom Engelhardt notes, “With its Cold War overtones of nuclear annihilation, World War IV implies that our very existence as a nation is in immediate danger and will be for years, decades, perhaps a century or more to come; and yet it is also a familiar, even reassuring image – another global war in the triumphant tradition of the three that preceded it.”
Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute’s Tomdispatch.com (“a regular antidote to the mainstream media”), is the co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The End of Victory Culture, a history of American triumphalism in the Cold War.
Reviewer, Daniel J. Hamlow says, “This book came out in 1995, and early on in the book, Engelhardt makes a well-worn but important point: ‘with the end of the Cold War and the loss of the enemy, American culture has entered a period of crisis that raises profound questions about national purpose and identity.’ Ponder that passage, and what’s going on today in the world.”
“The main thing to ask today is, do we really need to have an enemy and a war to unite the people together? Peace and harmony can do the same thing. We do not need victory-for-one-side culture anymore. What we need is victory-for-all culture.”