No More “Long War”?

Richard Lardner of the Tampa Tribune writes that the new boss of US Central Command, Adm. William Fallon, has discarded the term “Long War” used by his successor Army Gen. John Abizaid. In a written response to query, Lardner was told, “The change in vernacular is a product of our ongoing effort to use language that describes the conflict for our western audience while understanding the cultural implications of how that language is construed in the Middle East.” In effect, Fallon believes that the “long war” appellation gave the erroneous impression that the US expects to be fighting in the Middle East indefinitely. Fallon testified this week before the House Armed Services Committee that his message to the Iraqi leadership is consistent: “You have got to start taking these tough decisions faster if we’re going to be successful and you’re going to be successful.” He went on: “We have been at this for four years. We have seen various ebbs and flows of security but generally have not seen the consistent progress that we think we need to see to make this entity called Iraq the kind of functional representative government that we would desire. … This is really the Iraqi leadership’s major and potential last opportunity to really take this ball forward.”