Currently, there is a heated debated going on among House members. A matter of simple terminology has aroused passions on both sides of the aisle. The focus of all this debate is the question of whether or not the Iraq war should be considered a part of the global war on terror. The Republicans say yes, while the Democrats say no. An internal memo by a senior staff member working for Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) urged aides to drop the term because it was too broad.

The GOP doesn’t quite see it that way. “The attempt by Democrats to erase the words ‘global’ and ‘terror’ from our current war is an absurd effort to deny the fact that America is battling terrorism on a global scale,” said House Republican leader John Boehner said. “How do Democrats expect America to fight and win a war they deny is even taking place?” Boehner is distorting the question here. No one is questioning the war on terror, just the idea of including Iraq as a part of it.

Republicans desperately need to keep the Iraq war linked to the war on terror, if they hope to ever regain popular support for the war and electoral victory any time soon. The Democrats were successful at separating the two during the 2006 elections, with disastrous results for the GOP at the polls. Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) released a statement defending his staffer’s memo. “GOP objections to our efforts to clarify legislative language represent the typical Republican leadership attempt to tie together the misadventure in Iraq and the overall war against terrorists.  The Iraq War is separate and distinct from the war against terrorists, who have their genesis in Afghanistan and who attacked us on 9/11, and the American people understand this,” Skelton said. 

“Providing our service members with the tools they need to protect the American people is a very serious responsibility.  I’m saddened that some of our GOP colleagues have chosen to create this distraction, which is a tempest in a teapot as far as I’m concerned,” he said. Most of the American people see the Iraq war as distinct from the war on terrorists. Probably because there turned out to be no evidence that Iraq was ever involved in terrorism, or had WMDs. The House Republicans are playing a word game here that they hope will help paint the Democrats as anti-war, anti-American extremists, but the problem for the Republicans is that most people agree with the Democrats.

My opinion is that how you view this question depends on what one considers the war in Iraq to be. If one believes that Iraq is a civil war, then they are likely to see it as separate from the war on terror. If someone feels that America is battling terrorists in Iraq, then they are likely to agree with the GOP position. If Iraq is a part of the war on terror, then why were there no terrorists there before the U.S. invaded? The U.S. brought the terrorists into Iraq with them. I think that Iraq is a civil war. No matter how much the GOP politically needs Iraq to be a part of the war on terror, facts are facts, and no amount of semantics and word games can change that.

AP article

Complete Skelton Statement

Pew Research Center: Iraq Public Opinion Trends

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at  


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