Jargon Watch: War vs Military Action


When terrorists does terrorist acts on "us", it's called War. When the US attacks another country it's called Military Action. What's up with that? I thought it was called war when one country declares, er, fight with another. Why is it not called war? Too loaded?

The war on terrorism is much more than just shooting and bombing, having sensible foreign policies for starters. Why is that not called action? Not loaded enough?


Yes, declaring war on a nation is too loaded. Its much easier just to conduct a Military Action. Besides, this action (Iraq) is all about oil and finishing what daddy started.

Declaring war on a concept (i.e. terrorism, drugs) is easy. Its all about talk and developing bad policy.

There is the fact that "war", as such, has a special legal meaning in the US, and the President is less constrained if (s)he doesn't actually declare war.

Also, I would think that war (in an international legal sense) would require two or more nation-states as participants. Terrorist acts aren't war by that definition, unless of course Dubya produces that Al-Qaeda <-> Iraq link that he keeps saying is there.

is it legal to fight for another country during war?

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This page contains a single entry by Ask Bjørn Hansen published on January 17, 2003 5:18 PM.

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