The War on Terror

THE WAR ON TERROR….In the Boston Globe today, James Carroll asks about the elephant in the room:

Here is the embarrassing question: Is America actually at war? We have a war president, war hawks, war planes, war correspondents, war cries, even war crimes ? but do we have war?

….Iraq is not a war, because, though we have savage assault, we have no enemy. The war on terrorism is not a war because, though we have an enemy, the muscle-bound Pentagon offers no authentic means of assault.

It would be easy to dismiss this as pedantry if it weren’t for one thing: it seems as though the Pentagon pretty much agrees. In this year’s Quadrennial Defense Review there are no terminations of major weapons programs and, apparently, no serious changes planned in the way the military operates. InsideDefense, which has seen the QDR and spoken to a senior defense official who was one of its architects, reports that instead of offering concrete changes to respond to the war on terror, we’re mostly getting Dilbert-style happy talk:

?The misguided game in town is: ?Give me the programmatics, show where the money is going and that will tell me where the department is going,?? the senior defense official said. ?I think that would be a misreading of what?s happened, because what the QDR did was to get us to start to work differently, in a much more collaborative, horizontal fashion.

….?A refined force planning construct…implies the previous force planning construct is about right. I think the programming that?s occurred to date, too, is about right. And what we?re seeing here are refinements of that.?

?That?s not to say there?s not some changes in there,? the military official acknowledged. ?But the [services] were on a pretty good vector and the QDR helped make some adjustments to those vectors. That?s why there?s not going to be [any major weapon system terminations].?

So 9/11 didn’t really change anything after all. We just need a few tweaks here and there and we’ll be fine.

So where’s Osama?