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Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Brennan offered no details on how much the cash-strapped administration will be willing to pour into known terror havens, which range from war-wracked Afghanistan to poverty-stricken Somalia and Yemen. Those nations have pleaded for millions more dollars in financial aid, along with funds for trucks, helicopters, and other equipment.
His comments underscored assertions — by Obama and other Cabinet members — that winning the war of words is a key element to defeating terrorism. Early on, Obama dropped the use of the oft-heard Bush administration catch phrase "global war on terror," saying that the U.S, must be careful not to suggest that it is at war with Muslims. And in June Obama delivered a much-anticipated speech in Cairo, reaching out to the Muslim world.
On Thursday, Brennan also argued that the term "global war" could imply that the U.S. is at war with the rest of the world, and it reinforces the idea that al-Qaida is more powerful and far-reaching than it is.
Outlining five key elements of the new approach, Brennan said the U.S. will meld its fight against terrorists into a broader engagement with countries around the world, not just those gripped by extremists.
In addition to efforts to speak more carefully about terrorism, he said there will be a greater understanding that while poverty does not cause violence, people who have no hope for a job are often more susceptible to extremist ideologies.