Phrase 'War on Terror' Returns to White House Lexicon

Published September 01, 2009


Press Secretary Robert Gibbs may have returned the United States to the "War on Terror" -- or at least returned the term "War on Terror" to the White House glossary -- when he used the abandoned phrase Monday in response to a question about the current situation in Afghanistan.

"You can't under-resource the most important part of our War on Terror, you can't under-resource that for five or six or seven years -- whether it's under-resourced with troops, whether it's under-resourced with civilian manpower, whether it's under-resourced with economic development funding -- and hope to snap your fingers and have that turn around in just a few months," Gibbs said during the daily briefing to reporters.

Asked Tuesday whether the use of the phrase was intentionally, Gibbs answered, "We're focused on getting the strategy right." 

The phrase "War on Terror" was coined during the Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but has not been used at all by the current White House, whose budget request referred to "overseas contingency operations."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed in March that the administration had stopped using "War on Terror" but the president's own counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, went beyond that early last month telling reporters that "describing our efforts as a 'global war' only plays into the warped narrative that al Qaeda propagates."

FOX News' Dominique Pastre contributed to this report.