08/03/2005: Bush flip-flops yet again (well, maybe)...
First it was "The Global War on Terror". Then, recently, we learned that it's all PR, and the name had been changed to "The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism".
Now over at No Quarter, Larry Johnson (former CIA and State Department counter-terrorism expert) informs us that Bush is having second thoughts about that name change (well, that's assuming he had first thoughts about it, which on reflection strikes me as a most dubious assumption):
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.More to the point, though, Mr. Johnson shows why this seemingly insignificant semantic flap is symptomatic of a more serious problem:
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.And to think that one of the reasons we elected the Nitwit in Chief (giving him the chance to inflict his deputy nitwits on us) is that some deluded percentage of the electorate thought that Sen. Kerry would be "ineffective" in countering terrorism.
While the Bush Administration has trumpeted that it is waging a war on terrorism rather than treating it as a law enforcement problem, the reality is that the terrorists do not present a target that can be readily attacked with military assets. In fact, the major captures of terrorist targets, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Hambali, have been carried out through intelligence operations or thru police round-ups.
The sad reality is that there is still no one in charge of directing a coordinated U.S. Government policy to combat terrorism. General Wayne Downing, who was put in charge in October of 2001, tried to do so but was slapped down by Don Rumsfeld. Downing resigned in frustration after spending less than a year on the job. Since then we have seen a virtual game of musical chairs, as different folks move in and out of the NSC slot responsible for coordinating terrorism policy.
At the end of the day this episode is a reminder of why Bin Laden is still at large. We cannot even agree on what to call the fight against Islamic radicals (FAIR is already taken as an acronym). We had WOT, thought about WOE, moved to GSAVE and may go back to WOT. Someone needs to find out WHAT is happening.
Where on earth did we get the impression that Dumbya Bush was effective at it? I sure as hell don't see any evidence in support of that proposition.
Len on 08.03.05 @ 07:34 AM CST