Tuesday, August 02, 2005

It's my war dammit, and I'll decide when it is over

former CIA agent Larry Johnson on the shift from GWOT to GSAVE:
Stop the presses. WOT--the War on Terrorism may still be alive. The counter terrorism community is abuzz over the President's comments yesterday at a principals meeting of the Homeland Security Council. Bush reportedly said he was not in favor of the new term, Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism (GSAVE). In fact, he said, "no one checked with me". That comment brought an uncomfortable silence to the assembled group of pooh bahs. The President insisted it was still a war as far as he is concerned.

The battle over language and the confusion within the National Security Council is an unfortunate reminder of the chaos that is afflicting the Bush Administration's effort to deal with terrorism. Unfortunately, every agency and department is doing its own thing without strong, clear direction or control from the White House. Makes longtime bureaucrats long for the days of Richard Clarke, when at least there was someone in charge.
No surprise here. When young Georgie played with his little green plastic soldiers, they didn't stage a "struggle;" they had a war. The grown-ups may have figured out that the GWOT (a) isn't winnable and (b) even more importantly, polls badly, but Little Lord Figurehead can't pronounce Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, let alone remember it. Even his nibs understands that you don't win a struggle, which is why John Wayne never engaged in them. Bush's conviction that he will triumph over evil remains uncontaminated by facts. So this could get interesting.

The underlying chaos in the US machine also makes perfect sense to me. At the highest levels (that is, at Haliburton), the GWOT was never about winning; endless war suits them fine. Building with the left hand while bombing with the right is a perpetual motion machine, so don't expect them to clean up their act.

I suspect this will be a rougher transition than the one from "privatization" to "personal accounts." Will the pod people in the press play along again?


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