Thursday, August 04, 2005

The War on Whatever

Hey, at least we're getting this vision thing cleared up about what to call the administration's ongoing War on Whatever.

Or are we?

Seems some uppity ups in the administration have been meeting since January to reframe their label and thus their message on (and our perception of) what used to be called just the good ol' "War on Terror," period.

But this is a "war" that's always been in a gray area in more ways than one, never quite cleared with Congress - and, shall we say, advertised and promoted with about as much honesty as a millionaire's infomercial on late night TV. The president on the deck of an aircraft carrier under a banner that said "Mission Accomplished." Now how long ago was that? About 1400 lives ago?

Well, even though Rummy runs rough shod over the war room and rumors of war, the Rumster must have gotten a might nervous about too much "war" talk, so via "internal deliberations," some Defense Dept. all stars coined the nifty and quite PC term, "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism." Does using the word "struggle" get this round of Nixons, Haldemans and Westmorlands out of the "It's Another Viet Nam Syndrome." Perhaps, almost four years down the road since 9/11, they're hoping so.

Now, as of yesterday, the president, back on home turf in Texas, made no mistake about it. He knows a good, simple, dumbed down whatchacallit when he sees one: "War on Terror," plain and simple.

In a speech yesterday in Grapevine, TX, near DFW airport, the president used the phrase "War on Terror" no less than five times, just to be sure he'd gotten it right. And in an amazing stunt of subliminal education, Mr. Bush was able to fit the word "war" into his speech a whopping 14 times - even though it was a speech that was primarily about domestic policy. Now the president must be feeling this "war" word is working pretty well for him. We probably got wars all over the place and don't even hardly know about half of them - or why they're wars or what we're really warring about.

"Make no mistake about it, we're at war," the president said.

The day before Mr. Bush's Grapevine speech (appropriate locale, eh?), Mr. Rumsfeld had also given a speech in which he expressly and in no uncertain terms meant to clear up some of the confusion he and his highly decorated ostriches had caused. "Some ask, are we still engaged in a war on terror? Let there be no mistake about it. It's a war."

Yes, Mr. Secretary, it is a war, but a war on what, exactly? Just terror? You didn't say terror. More than terror? Hmmm, we thought so. But what else? Oil perhaps? Israel perhaps? Empire perhaps? To which, if he were feeling as smarmy as he sometimes does, Mr. Rumsfeld could have responded, "Oh, it's a war on whatever we want it to be on."

You got it. This administration will run around in circles, wagging whatever it can, to promote and prolong its 'war on whatever' as long as it's got a say so - even as most of the soldiers, officers, and generals who have to get the body bags out and send the coffins home wish it were already time to Call It Quits.


For more, see the article "President Makes It Clear: Phrase is 'War on Terror'" in Thursday's New York Times.



At 8/07/2005 8:50 AM, Blogger heidi said...

O holy cow, those two guys are such goofballs!!! Maybe an ESL class is in order?

If it weren't so scary, might be kinda' cute.....

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