washingtonpost.com
Word Watch

By Dan Froomkin
2:36 PM ET, 01/21/2009

The Los Angeles Times editorial board writes: "One curious note in Obama's speech was a line that could have come out of the mouth of George W. Bush: 'Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.'

"Obviously, U.S. military forces are engaged in armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Equally obviously, this nation faces a threat of more 9/11-style terrorism from Al Qaeda and its imitators. But the notion of an undifferentiated war on terror (or on 'Islamic fascism') blinded the Bush administration to important nuances in global politics. Worse, it provided a rationalization for violations of human rights and alliances with unsavory foreign leaders that exacerbated anti-Americanism around the world. The new president, usually so careful in his choice of words, mustn't echo the oversimplifications of his predecessor."

That said, it is worth noting that Obama did not speak about victory in the two wars Bush left him. "We'll begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan," he said.

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