Friday, August 7, 2009

Mission Accomplished?

According to the Washington Times, the U.S. is editing the bureaucratic lexicon again but seemingly keeping the same policies in place:
It's official. The United States is no longer engaged in a "war on terrorism." Neither is it fighting "jihadists" nor locked in a "global war."
President Obama's top homeland security and counterterrorism official on Thursday declared as unacceptable the terms crafted by the George W. Bush administration.
It is now solely a "war with al Qaeda" and its violent extremist allies, said John Brennan, head of the White House homeland security office, during a speech Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
The semantic shift is intended to bring precision to the way the president and his aides talk about the nation's efforts to defeat al Qaeda, though Bush administration officials say the policies that are being put to use have not changed dramatically
...Critics on the left and the right have pointed out that the Obama administration has continued such Bush-era policies as extraordinary rendition and drone attacks in Pakistan. There remains an international and domestic surveillance program that is cloaked in mystery, and the war in Afghanistan, where Mr. Obama has increased the number of U.S. troops and the military continues to house enemy combatants at Bagram Air Base. In addition, the White House is still considering the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects
As reported by ABC, Brennan also threw some cold water (so to speak) on the notion of closing the Gitmo jail by the deadline set forth in the executive order:
White House Homeland Security Czar John Brennan Thursday indicated the Obama administration might not make President Obama’s January 22, 2010 deadline to close the Detainee Center at Guantanamo Bay.
"I don’t have a crystal ball,” Brennan said. “At this point it is unknowable exactly how many people will be transferred next week, month, several months and what the conditions on the ground will be on 1 January and 21 January…Everybody is doing everything possible in the administration to realize the President's goal.”
And congratulations to Justice Sotomayor who yesterday received Senate approval of her nomination. Click here for a review of a page-turning book written by one of her new colleagues.