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Waiting For Disaster

Well, it's time for a new euphemism from the Obama administration. In its haste to get away from looking like they were continuing any Bush administration policies (while quietly maintaining a lot of them), they dumped the "War On Terror" tag and have been flailing around for a new one.

The first one was "Overseas Contingency Operations." This had the bureaucratic appeal of using three long words that meant nothing. And like most things couched to have bureaucratic appeal, it went exactly nowhere with the general public.

Well, now they're trying a new one. Now it's "Countering Violent Extremism." This one was obviously set up by a pollster -- it has an action verb coupled with two negative terms. Who is in favor of "violent extremism," and who could oppose "countering" it?

Well, me, for one.

The first is that it's already being called by its acronym, CVE. And as a World War II buff, those letters already have a meaning. CVEs, the official naval designation for escort carriers, served a vital role during World War II and saw a great deal of combat and carried themselves with true heroism. They were far from the mightiest warships (many sailors referred to them as "Combustible, Vulnerable, and Expendable" or "Kaiser Coffins," after the primary builder, Henry Kaiser), but they were essential to our victory and had their greatest moment of glory in the Battle off Samar -- which saw what were arguably the greatest displays of courage ever seen in the United States Navy.

So right off the bat I'm emotionally inclined to dislike the term. But there's another, even more subtle, reason to not care for it. And that's the very first word.


What, exactly, is countering? It's a reactive term. It means "they're doing things we don't like, and we're going to ruin their plans."

Reactive policies are good for civilian problems. By and large, the police and the courts are reactive forces. They go after people who have done bad things, punish them, and prevent them from doing more bad things.

But reactive policies in warfare are defensive policies. They mean ceding the initiative to the enemy. They mean that we generally leave the enemy alone until they attack, and then we hit them back hard.

Which makes the lawyers happy, but means we have to take that initial attack.

In a war, the side that gets put on the defensive usually loses. And even when they win, it's an expensive victory.

No, the best way to win a war is to identify the enemy, discover their plans, and then attack before they can make their first moves. That was the Japanese intention at Pearl Harbor -- to declare war, then hit us. Thanks to some communication snafus, the declaration of war was delivered hours after the attack. But thanks to the utter surprise they achieved, we spent the first few months of the war on the defensive. Our first major battle was in the Coral Sea, where we "reacted" to their "violent extremism." Likewise, Midway was another defensive battle. Not counting the purely-for-morale Doolittle Raid, we didn't really take the offensive until almost a year after Pearl Harbor, at Guadalcanal, and from then until the end of the war we were the aggressors -- we chose where we would attack and when, and the Japanese had to respond to us. We held the initiative, and that was a large factor in our ultimate victory.

By limiting our actions to "countering," even in name only, Obama has announced that he is reverting our national policy to what is called "9/10 thinking." The pre-September 11 mindset was to keep an eye on the terrorists, but only hit at them after they've crossed the line.

That mindset went away that sunny morning in September.

I thought things had changed forever that day.

It turns out that "forever" was a bit less than ten years.


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Comments (19)

Apparently--as with his pro... (Below threshold)

Apparently--as with his promises--"forever" has an expiration date with Obama as well.

Some people woke up that mo... (Below threshold)

Some people woke up that morning, some people hit the snooze button.

As usual, liberals worry mo... (Below threshold)

As usual, liberals worry more about words and feelings than about reality.

Yet another thing I miss about W.
Not the least bit eloquent but he stated things plainly and directly.

Thanks for the insights. <... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the insights.

Countering Violent Extremism just came off as "wrong" somehow, but you put it in concrete terms as to why and how it was wrong. Some things just don't feel true and when we look at the careful massaging of the message that is fed to the masses, it is even more frightening what this White House and Administration are doing.

The constant downplaying all of the real threats in the world today and the PC language being foisted on the unsuspecting indeed brings on 9/10 thinking. This is to our peril, so I am pleased that people like you continue to analyze and critique the way you do.

Identify an enemyFre... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Identify an enemy
Freeze it
Personalize it

Strange that Obama tries to do this with political opponents but cant do it with enemies of the US.

Barry just wants to be "LOV... (Below threshold)

Barry just wants to be "LOVED".

Thinking as though 9/11 nev... (Below threshold)

Thinking as though 9/11 never took place? Well, when have the libs ever demonstrated the ability to remember things from as far back as two years in the past? I suppose that's why there's no accountability for any of the long-term effects of the Clinton admin.

Jay Tea, I think t... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea,

I think that you have the makings of contest here. CVE - that acronym just begs to have new meanings applied to it. A more accurate one would be "COURTING violent extremism". Next?

I kinda hope they're workin... (Below threshold)

I kinda hope they're working on other words and phrases because we're going to need them soon. We'll be needing a new word for bankruptcy, incompetence, and considering the new national defense policy, we may need a new term for surrender.

How about Converting Victor... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

How about Converting Victory to Excuses

10. Posted by B... (Below threshold)
10. Posted by Big Mo | April 7, 2010 12:37 PM
Good post and comments, but... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Good post and comments, but I think we've missed a key point: "Countering Violent Extremism" is probably a rubric for going after Tea Partiers and other patriotic Americans rather than terrorists.

Terrorists can breathe easy; this is aimed at grannies in tennis shoes at Tea Parties.

Well, at least we know he w... (Below threshold)

Well, at least we know he won't nuke us.

"Countering Violent Extremi... (Below threshold)

"Countering Violent Extremism"

Jay is right. This is all aimed at extremist rightwing hillbillies clinging to their guns, bibles and constitution. The real enemy to the "Wons" plans.

It's the lawyer's approach ... (Below threshold)

It's the lawyer's approach to reality. If you don't like something - rename it, redefine it, do whatever you need to get people to change their thinking on it.

It won't change the REALITY - but then, it's not really about reality in the first place, is it?

Well, at least we ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:
Well, at least we know he won't nuke us.

He said he wouldn't nuke America's enemies. He didn't say anything about America's friends.

So the liberals are OK, but the rest of us are still on the hook.

But Jay, Obama considers <i... (Below threshold)

But Jay, Obama considers us America's enemies.

"Waitin for Disaster... (Below threshold)

"Waitin for Disaster"

?? Well wait no more.. Disaster, thy name is Obuma!

One can only pray Karma has... (Below threshold)
Constitution First:

One can only pray Karma has a boomerang affect; the inevitable attack hits 0-Bambi (The Man-Child) where it hurts the most.






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