A friend recently held out to me that the current "war on terrorism" is incorrectly named a war, and is mistakenly described as a religious conflict. I think him to be correct, with reservations regarding the religion facet and with absence of any notion that our efforts to track down, engage and kill known terrorists should be reduced. War may not be the proper name for what we are doing. It is the wide variety of connotations of substitute words that make one think of the dictionary meaning of the word. war n. 1. a. A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states or parties. b. The period of such a conflict. c. The techniques and procedures of war; military science. 2. a. A condition of active antagonism or contention: a war of words; a price war. b. A concerted effort or campaign to combat or put an end to something considered injurious: the war against acid rain. warring intr.v. 1. To wage or carry on warfare. 2. To be in a state of hostility or rivalry; contend. The continuous conflict between radical extremists and the forces tasked with thwarting their efforts, hunting and killing them is most certainly war by the above definition. It is not war in the sense of historical battlefield warfare. What I have long considered war is what the history books describe and depict....deadly battles between uniformed armies of warring nations. Today's conflicts in Afghanistan and elsewhere differ from history book examples of war in that there are no specific nation's uniformed armies on the other side. Their army blends into society to some degree in every governed population on earth...with possible exception of some obscure, ethnically pure, native tribe of hunter-gatherers that lives peacefully in isolation, completely ignorant of the savagery that occurs without end in the "civilized" world. In that sense, I agree it is not a war. However, it makes no difference what one chooses to call it. It is just as much a war as the war on crime, the war on drugs, the war on obesity, the war on poverty, a local gas war, the war of the Rose's....in this sense; that war is a constant struggle between combatants until one side gives up or becomes extinct. I choose to call the war on terrorism a war...until further notice. To define the combatants: coalition forces: The governments of nations with uniformed troops assigned to coalition command within designated battlegrounds and those that support, plan, assemble, enable or participate in the maintenance of those troops. This would include uniformed troops of those governments whether located inside or outside of designated battlegrounds, support facilities such as training bases, supply bases, recruitment facilities, civilian contractors, security personnel, intelligence groups, law enforcement and concerned citizens in all countries. enemy forces: Those that support, plan, assemble, enable or participate in the terrorism of others by way of threats to harm, acts to harm or encouragement of acts to harm others by any means, most particularly with explosive devices, chemical dispersants, germicides, attacks on transit systems, power systems, communications systems, food and water supplies, government buildings, public markets, schools, hotels, weddings and the like. Refinements to these definitions may be necessary in order to debate issues related to this topic, but dwelling on minutia is neither productive nor welcome in whatever discussion may follow. The above proposed definitions of the forces involved in the conflict were purposely left devoid of ties to religion. I agree completely with my friend that this is not a religious war. It is a political war, fueled by religious zealots on both sides. The terrorist's justification of the terrorism is, for the most part based on political dogma. The political dogma is, in some cases generated by religious dogma. Muslims and Christians have been killing each other "in the name of their lord" for centuries. Muslims have also been killing Muslims for centuries. Muslim on Muslim Violence: What Drives It? (And Where Is It Taking Us) :: Islamic Issues :: Freedoms Zone Today, they still kill their own....for political cause...anyone not in full agreement is subject to be blown to pieces by the great leader's inexhaustible supply of suicide bombers and others seeking martyrdom. Ahhh, yes...martyrdom...to be remembered....that is another topic. Most of the definitions I find for martyr involve religion, with some suggestion of an afterlife or being remembered forever...a spiritual ongoing of the martyred one. We give medals postumously, carve names in marble, read names aloud, have memorial services and moments of silence, all in remembrance of those that died. Regarding religion...the Oklahoma City bombing was not rooted in religion. It was rooted in politics. The Columbine shootings could have had an occult enfluence, but I am not aware of any religious motive. The Atlanta Day Trader shootings can be attributed more to lunacy than religion, though in some cases, those do go hand in hand. What these non-Muslim examples of terrorism have in common is the that each event was followed by extensive coverage including smiley-faced photos of the killers in their happier times, their life stories and friend's life stories and undue attention to what THEY went through in arriving at their role as terrorist and killer of innocent people. After 9-11, we were exposed to seemingly endless photos of the smiling faces of the terrorists along with studies to varying depths of the history of each. We remember their names. I just refuse to type them anymore. I grimace internally upon being reminded of their names or images. I firmly believe that publishing of terrorists' life stories contributes to terrorism...not so much as to classify the media as terrorists, but still evoking a sentiment of disdain. Though I do believe that organized religion is the prevalent source of divisiveness and conflict on earth, I do not consider religion to be the root cause of today's terrorism. It is politics...tribal politics based on long standing, bigoted dogmas that will continue until changed from within the participating groups. Condemnation of entire religions based on the actions of a minority among them is nothing more than unwarranted guilt by association. Though the overwhelming majority of today's terrorists appear to be Muslim, the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists.