Thursday, March 26, 2009

The War on the War on Terror?

"Overseas Contingency Operation". "Man-Caused." "An end to torture." These disarming terms are part of the Obama administration's new direction towards winning the, er, overseas contingency operation. Yes, no more GWoT, call it the OCO.

O's defenders might defend it as part of a super clever strategy to fool the terrorists and the media but the public doesn't usually do nuance well. That said, Obama's folks know that most people don't think of terrorism any more--it wasn't a major issue in the election and reporters didn't even ask him a question about it during the presser--so they can get away with some nuance.

But they also know this strategy shift puts any future attacks squarely on Obama so there's some political risk involved. But hey, he's the one reading the intelligence reports. We have to assume he won't do something reckless amidst a bunch of chatter. Perhaps that's a good sign.

As to the nuance, since the administration is full of Clinton retreads it's tempting to say he's trying to pretend terror doesn't exist in hopes it'll go away. But the bell has already been rung. He campaigned on focusing on the "real war" in Afghanistan and that's what he's doing, announcing today that another 4000 troops will be deployed there soon. It's a two-pronged strategy. Evidently.

Or maybe three pronged. Ed Morrissey reported this morning on Obama's use of the State Secrets defense in an Oregon terrorism case, which when used by Bush caused outrage. We already know he's not willing to take rendition off the table, and he voted for FISA reform to maintain the program to scan calls from AQ exchanges. Yesterday the Counterterrorism Blog had a feature on the pending lawsuits over airline security on 9/11 being held up by a Trade Secrets defense. So the government hasn't gone completely insane. For Pete's sake Cindy Sheehan is railing on Obama now so he must be doing something right.

The question is whether most of this is just window dressing. It's quite possible the mini-surge in Afghanistan is designed as more of an exit strategy, a way to do enough damage this season to justify leaving later this year when the snows come. Maybe Obama put military spending back into plain view in the budget so he could later reduce it in plain view by exiting from the contingency zones. But we'll see. If the big attack comes all bets are off.


Debbie said...

I'm hoping most of this is window dressing, but who knows. I heard today that Obama is sending 4,000 (I think) special troops to train the Pakistanis (or was it the Afghans?), in addition to the 17,000 going to Afghanistan.

If he is just doing this to please his hard-core left, I still think it is a mistake. It makes us look weak, and under him we probably are.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Anonymous said...

I think those of us who oppose the war on terror, but who support the war on the war on terror, can justify our stance on this importance issue with these illustrative and irrefutable talking points:

• Bush lied, and people died

• We created terrorists from loving, giving, gifted people

• Were it not for the war on terror, everyone in Congress could get a million dollar pay raise

• The war on terror is no more than a demonstration of America’s racism

• We can always build new skyscrapers

• Most Muslims are moderate and the Jews are bastards

Finally, I hope you will join with House Democrats supporting H.R. 40, the African-American Slavery Reparations Act.

Your friend,

N. Pelosi

A.C. McCloud said...

Wow, what an honor to have the Speaker of the House drop by to set me straight.

Thanks for all the good work you do. Like sticking that bonus clause in the Stimulator bill! And good luck with H.R. 40. I hear they are already demonstrating in favor of this out near your home district, in Oakland.

Yours forever,