"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.