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Post-Postwar (PPW)

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By Al Kamen
Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Former State Department counterterrorism official Larry C. Johnson reported on his blog yesterday that the Global War on Terrorism, or GWOT, or The WOT, "may still be alive."

A couple months ago, our colleague, Susan B. Glasser , reported that the Bush administration was undertaking a major review of its strategy on counterterrorism, and that officials wanted to change the name GWOT to something like GSAVE -- Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. That would take into account the changed nature of the battle against international terrorism.

"GWOT is catchy," a senior administration official said then, "but there may be a better way to describe it."

In fact, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld 10 days ago spoke about a "global struggle against violent extremism [GSAVE]."

Apparently nobody told President Bush . At a White House meeting of senior officials Monday, Johnson wrote, "Bush reportedly said he was not in favor of the new term . . . In fact, he said, 'no one checked with me.' That comment brought an uncomfortable silence to the assembled group of pooh-bahs. The president insisted it was still a war as far as he is concerned."

By yesterday, Rumsfeld was back to GWOT in his prepared remarks to a Dallas business group.

"We do not discuss internal meetings at the White House," a spokesman there said, adding that a look at "the president's speeches over the last four years clearly demonstrates that our nation is at war."

You GWOT that?

Catch-22? No -- Catch-E3.1.8

Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England recently circulated an official directive to Pentagon officials and contractors laying out the policy against leaks and catching the leakers.

Leaking of classified information "shall be reported promptly," England said, "and investigated to decide the nature and circumstances of the disclosure, the extent of damage to national securities and the corrective and disciplinary action to be taken."

"Preliminary inquiries or investigations," an attached guidance says, "should focus on addressing" a number of key questions. For example, you'll want to determine "when, where and how did the incident occur" and who was involved.

The "who" part is important. When Bush disclosed "Operation Desert Badger," apparently a classified prewar military effort against Saddam Hussein , for example, you wouldn't want to jump right onto that investigation.


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