As we remember those who died in service to our country this Memorial Day weekend, let's take a look at what our nation's leadership is up to in running the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
A Sunday Washington Post article reveals that three and a half years after the 9-11 attacks, the Bush administration has, for the first time, launched an internal review of its anti-terror strategy.
Why the delay? Key administration counterterrorism jobs have been vacant for months. "We're five months into the next term," says former counterterrorism official Roger W. Cressy. "You end up losing valuable time."
"There's been a vacuum of leadership," says another former counterterrorism official. "No one knows who's running this on a day-to-day basis."
The Bush administration now wants to "broaden" its approach to defeating terrorism, turning away from its former "decapitation strategy" that focused on rolling up senior al Qaeda leaders. By this point, according to some experts, al Qaeda is no longer an effective organization, but has evolved into an "amorphous global jihad movement."
"What we really want now is a strategic approach to defeat violent extremism," a senior spokesman said. "GWOT is catchy, but there may be a better way to describe it."
I have no idea what catchy new acronym they'll come up with (Leverage Over Violent Extremism?), but you can bet your bottom tax dollar that high priced think tanks will be working overtime on the project once they come back from the weekend holiday.
Not everyone is convinced that we have rolled up the sidewalk on al Qaeda. A panel consisting of Fred Thompson, Lee Hamilton, and others expressed grave concerns about al Qaeda's intentions on Meet the Press.
When asked if he was convinced al Qaeda was "single minded" about obtaining nuclear weapons, head of the 9-11 Commission and former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean said, "I don't think there's any question about it...they have been doing everything they can to acquire the means of both the methods and the materials in order to (ignite a nuclear device in) an American city." Governor Kean also characterized America's borders and ports as "extremely porous," and said "we have not got a machine yet that will really detect nuclear materials properly as it comes across."
There's no telling how much we've spent so far on Homeland Security. You certainly won't find a comprehensive figure at the Department of Homeland Security web site. But a swag of $100 billion is probably low.
And on Sunday's Face the Nation:
Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Richard Myers admitted that May was a brutal month in the Iraq operation, but optimistically claimed that "the trend lines are up."
When asked if more troops should have been committed to the Iraq excursion, Myers said, "Personally, I don't think so." Myers made the standard argument that more troops might simply have provided more targets for the insurgents.
He skipped over the reality that if the U.S. hadn't sent troops into Iraq on fuzzy pretexts, not only wouldn't there be any targets, there wouldn't be any insurgents.
Myers also said that the military has gone to "extraordinary lengths to treat people humanely and uphold the Geneva Conventions."
General Myers is not known to have failed a random military drug test lately. But he's not known to have taken one lately either.
Wolf Blitzer on CNN's Late Edition: "U.S. troops will be in Iraq for the foreseeable future."
--44 months after 9-11, the Bush administration realizes it needs a new strategy in the Globar War on Terror, but the best thing it's come up with so far is to decide to give the war a new name.
--Al Qaeda is determined to sneak a nuclear weapon into the United States, and there's next to nothing we can do about it.
--Our senior military officer lives on a planet with a different colored sky.
This isn't a quagmire. It's a Technicolor nightmare. Our leadership has no strategy and no grasp of reality. Everything we do or don't do, say or don't say, plays directly into the radical Islamists' game plan.
Come next Memorial Day weekend, and for many Memorial Day weekends to come, we'll lament the passing of still more dedicated service men and women who fell fighting whatever we wind up calling this leaderless, rudderless war.