Saturday, April 21, 2007

"Remember, perception equals reality"

That was a particularly obnoxious phrase that used to display prominently at an old worksite of mine. The phrase always rubbed me the wrong way, because it was a sentence fragment. I always dressed it up by mentally adding "...for the insane."

But hey, it's a cute phrase and probably appealed to the greybeards who had it put up.

Look, we have leaders that think myspace is where you bunk, youtube refers to a friends television set, and blogging is something impolite people do after a hearty meal. They also think you should classify everything, even if its been on CNN for the last half-hour. Worst of all, they believe they should react to the security environment instead of shaping the environment.

But hey, that's just my humble opinion. I'm probably wrong.

So, earlier this week, Four Banger Fallon, the CENTCOM Combatant Commander, decided to roll out the B Vocabulary:

TAMPA - "The Long War," a phrase coined by former U.S. Central Command chief John Abizaid to convey the time needed to defeat the religious extremism fueling al-Qaida, has been jettisoned by his successor, Adm. William Fallon.


"The change in vernacular is a product of our ongoing effort to use language that describes the conflict for our western audience while understanding the cultural implications of how that language is construed in the Middle East," McLaughlin wrote in an e-mail.

The Long War, continues the article, has now been replaced by [SOUND OF CRICKETS CHIRPING IN VACUUM]. I kid. But we'll need something. Some suggestions:

The Footnote Wars
The Politically Inconvenient War, '08
The Career Ending War
The Army/Marine Corp War
The Must Cover Ass War

More disturbing is the attempt to recast, actually narrowcast, this as "We remain committed to our friends and allies in the region and to countering al-Qaida inspired extremism where it manifests itself. But one of our goals is to lessen our presence over time, [and] we didn't feel that the term 'Long War' captured this nuance."

Narrowcasting reactionaries.

AL-Qaida is a brand, these days, less a global organization of super secret squirrels, and more the forerunner of whatever disaggregating movement eventually triumphs over the Evils of Capitalism and globalization. It's an evolving enemy.

Systems approach.

So I also read that the Administration of President Bush is looking for a "War Czar." At this time, no takers. So far, it seems, some retired Four Bangers have been approached, and all have turned the administration down. Which is probably a mixed blessing. Think Jay Garner.

WAPO's Thomas Ricks on the Hugh Hewitt show:

TR: A couple of months ago, Newt Gingrich, I think it began with him, former Speaker of the House, told the White House you know, your biggest problem here is the bureaucracy of the U.S. government. Except for the guys fighting on the ground in Iraq, there’s nobody in the system for whom winning in Iraq is the top priority. And he made a series of recommendations, about 18, that said you really need to get the government in gear.

In the military, you make a bad decision, you get dead. In the Rest of The Government (ROTG) you get lateralled. There is a need to wake up the slumbering sloths of guv'mint (or fire them. no matter). It gets back to the whole Interagency debate.

So my recommendation for War Czar (besides ditching Czar)?

  • Best recommendation for Barnett, he probably doesn't want the job. Which is fine in my book. Draft him.
  • He comes with his own strategic vision to plug that big gaping hole around which our DIME currently revolves.
  • He likes America. Not always a given in Delta Charlie.
  • He wants to shape, vice being shaped by the strategic environment.
We either engage the world on our terms, or the world will keep engaging us on theirs.

No more cave dwelling, no Dobbs/Buchanan Nirvana to retreat into. O.K. I'm done.

Now, I can haz cheeseburger:

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