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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, May 31, 2005

 
New Ideas

This is good.
Some in the administration are apparently questioning whether waging a "Global War on Terror" is an effective way to deal with the threat of islamic fundamentalism. Wow. Next thing you know they'll be wondering whether taxes and expenditures ought to be in balance or something. Weird.

The review marks the first ambitious effort since the immediate aftermath of the 2001 attacks to take stock of what the administration has called the "global war on terrorism" -- or GWOT -- but is now considering changing to recognize the evolution of its fight. "What we really want now is a strategic approach to defeat violent extremism," said a senior administration official who described the review on the condition of anonymity because it is not finished. "GWOT is catchy, but there may be a better way to describe it, and those are things that ought to be incumbent on us to look at."


Yeah. "GWOT" is a catchy phrase that's been sweeping the nation like wildfire.

So they've decided that what we really need is a strategic approach to defeat violent extremism. Hmmm. I have an idea. How about we invade and occupy a non terrorist country in the middle of the region, create political chaos and foment a civil war? Surely that can only be seen as a gesture of goodwill on our part. But just in case we should probably say that the country has nukes strapped to drone planes that are ready to attack the eastern seaboard at any moment. (Nobody will remember any of that in a year anyway.)

Well, maybe that's not such a hot idea after all.

Much of the discussion has focused on how to deal with the rise of a new generation of terrorists, schooled in Iraq over the past couple years. Top government officials are increasingly turning their attention to anticipate what one called "the bleed out" of hundreds or thousands of Iraq-trained jihadists back to their home countries throughout the Middle East and Western Europe. "It's a new piece of a new equation," a former senior Bush administration official said. "If you don't know who they are in Iraq, how are you going to locate them in Istanbul or London?"


Interesting. Who would have ever dreamed this could happen? Oh, that's right. Those of us who were against the invasion. In fact, it was the central practical argument that I and most others I know set forth at the time. It was always obvious that invading Iraq was going to foment terrorism, not quell it. Anybody with a sixth grade education could see that. Well, except for some Republicans who went to Andover, Yale and Harvard, that is.

I really can't believe it. After they just ran a ruthless, mendacious, presidential campaign of character assasination against anyone who diverted even a half step from their party line, here they are, basically admitting that their entire GWOT is a fucking goddamned mistake.

The good news though is that just as they were before 9/11, the administration is focused like a laser beam on combatting terrorism:

The review may have been slowed somewhat by the fact that many of the key counterterrorism jobs in the administration have been empty for months, including the top post at the State Department for combating terrorism, vacant since November, and the directorship of the new National Counterterrorism Center. "We're five months into the next term, and still a number of spots have yet to be filled," Cressey said. "You end up losing valuable time."

The counterterrorism center was created nearly a year ago by Bush to serve as the main clearinghouse for terrorism-related intelligence but is not yet fully operational, and has been run by an acting director and caught up in the broader wave of bureaucratic reorganization that resulted in the creation of the new directorate of national intelligence, whose fiefdom the center will join.

As part of the reorganization, a new office of strategic and operational planning is slated to become the focal point for operations aimed at terrorists, but that, too, has yet to start working fully, the senior counterterrorism official said.

Townsend just hired a deputy last week, Treasury official Juan Carlos Zarate, to take on the terrorism portfolio at the NSC; Townsend had been doing that as well as serving as the president's top homeland security aide for the past year. Several counterterrorism sources said the State job will soon be filled by CIA veteran Hank Crumpton and the counterterrorism center post is slated to go to Air Force Gen. Charles F. Wald, current deputy commander of U.S. forces in Europe.

"They recognize there's been a vacuum of leadership," said a former top counterterrorism official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. "There has been a dearth of senior leadership directing this day to day. No one knows who's running this on a day-to-day basis."


Well, that's good. We're creating terrorists by the thousands day after day but the administration can't get it together enough to hire the people it needs to fill the anti-terrorist positions. The president himself is awfully busy, as we know, tilting at his private windmill accounts and riding his trike in the woods. Cheney is undoubtedly putting all his efforts into figuring out how to justify the use of tactical nuclear weapons on California. Who has time to deal with this terrorism thing? It's so 2002.

Ooops, I forgot one very important member of the administration who is working night and day on this problem. Karen Hughes has the vital responsibility of changing the negative perception of Americans in the middle east, which is key to their new strategy of combatting violent extremism. I hear her latest campaign is about to be revealed: she's going to tell those terrorists and jihadists that the US is a compassionate crusader --- an occupier with optimism --- an inspirational imperialist with integrity! Once those terrorists hear the mellifluous melody of her awesome alliteration, just like the Red States they will all fall in love.




Update: James Wolcott tells us that Michael Ledeen is just hopping mad about all this "re-evaluation" business. You can certainly understand why. He's the guy who seriously made the case to invade France and Germany just two years ago. This has to be a blow.

Twice in the past, the president slid into a similar funk, first permitting himself to be gulled by the Saudis into believing he had to make a deal with Arafat before he was entitled to liberate Iraq, then permitting the British to drag out the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom with endless votes in the Security Council. Each time he realized his error, and pressed on with greater vigor. It’s time for him to do that again."


The 101st Keyboarders need to saddle up their Aaron chairs and cock their control buttons. This is bigger even than the GWOT. It's a fight for the Codpiece and that's a battle only they know how to fight with the relish and expertise that's called for. They may have lost their beloved leader General Sullivan, but they will valiantly carry on without him. These brave souls will never give in, never give in, never give in.



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