“You don’t roll out a new product in August,” said President Bush’s aide, Andrew Card, apropos Iraq in the summer of 2002. But in this seventh September of a no longer new war a somewhat battered product is in need of a rebranding.

It was launched in the days after 9/11 as a “war on terror,” an artful evasion deemed necessary on the grounds that a war on any enemy beginning with “Islamist,” “Islamo-,” or “Islamic” might give the impression we had some, ah, issues with Islam itself and only complicate things further with various “friends” like Mubarak and the Saudis. Then, a couple of years back, the Administration rechristened (oops) the whole messy business “the Long War.” And Newt Gingrich started describing it as World War III, on the grounds that it’s a war on a global scale, and that’s how we designate...


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