We're not alone in this questioning of Brave New Authority, of course. Just last week some interesting questions were asked in, of all places, USA Today. Are we winning or losing the Global War on Terror? ... Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?
Is our current situation such that "the harder we work, the behinder we get"? ... Does the Department of Defense need to think through new ways to organize, train, equip and focus to deal with the global war on terror?
Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists?
Good questions, one and all. But what makes them most interesting is that they come not from Democrats or the "liberal-biased media" but rather from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the form of a "leaked" October 16 memo. Has Rumsfeld suddenly been replaced with his enlightened twin? If you think so, you're not paying attention.
The Bush administration has long said that this will be a different kind of war. Rumsfeld may as well have yelled, "Incoming!" in the subject line of this sortie. If you honestly believe that the memo was secretly leaked, I've got a mobile weapons lab in the desert I'd like to sell you.
The Rumsfeld memo is intended to pave the way for change, change as in: Unless you want the terrorists to win, we need to fundamentally change the way we look at our government and our military. "Change" meaning it can no longer be encumbered with outdated, pesky notions like "no first strike," "conventional weapons only," "honoring treaties," "Constitutional constraint," and "independent oversight." "Change," as in Rumsfeld's telling words from the memo, "My impression is that we have not yet made truly bold moves."
Responding to comments made by Democratic Sen. John Kerry who cited the memo as an example of the Bush administration's lack of a plan for Iraq, Defense Department Spokesman Larry Dirita said, "(Rumsfeld) was asked to take this job with the eye toward transforming the department. He has engaged the senior leadership of the department to do that."
Now more than ever, outsourcing your attention span is a dangerous thing.