President Obama’s sprawling and frequently tedious speech Thursday at the National Defense University was long on hope but comparatively short on change, more scholastic navel-gazing than articulation of new policy.
Some of what Mr. Obama sold as new strategy is in fact a mere shift in verbiage. After the president said that “we must define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror’ — but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists,” for instance, he went on to outline an alternative that is just the G.W.O.T. by another name. We suppose that if the president wants to stop talking about this war while continuing to wage it, that’s better than the inverse.