"Though policy initiatives since the attacks of 11 September 2001 have positively influenced certain agencies and processes within the US government in their efforts to secure America, some steps have worked at cross purposes and limited the nation's effectiveness in countering the threats it faces. One entrenched policy that inhibits clear analysis and understanding of the threat is the continued framing of this global struggle as a 'War on Terrorism' (WOT). Words have consequences in shaping understanding and framing potential courses of action. The broad use and narrow connotations of the term WOT have cultivated a widespread, erroneous intellectual paradigm for dealing with both terrorism and insurgencies. This false strategy conflates a single tactic into the overall characteristic of a diverse number of enemy organizations, who exercise terrorism as just one tool. [...]. Terrorism is a tactic employed by a broad range of parties on behalf of diverse causes, yet defining it to an appropriate degree of acceptance has been problematic. Setting aside the many varieties of domestic terrorism, this article examines only the characteristics of terrorist-violence directed against noncombatants by transnational actors, such as the al Qaeda-inspired global hirabahist movement. This article will highlight the relationship between terrorism and insurgency, while examining the effectiveness of key strategic policies included in the National Security Strategy of the United States, National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism, and Counterinsurgency for U.S. Government Policy Makers: A Work in Progress. A brief review of the challenges inherent in defining 'terrorism' makes the need for this approach clear."
U.S. Army War College, Parameters: http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/parameters/
Parameters: United States Army War College Quarterly (Autumn 2008), v.38, no.3, p.92-108