Tom Toles on America’s “Captain Ahab-ism”

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tom toles al qaeda forever.jpg
Tom Toles (c) 2010 The Washington Post. Used by permission of Universal Press Syndicate. All rights reserved.
Pursuing al Qaeda, a.k.a. Moby Dick.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

49 comments on “Tom Toles on America’s “Captain Ahab-ism”

  1. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Nadine…Saddam was Reagan/Bush’s favorite friend before he became Bush-baby’s favorite enemy.
    Incidentally, now that Capt’n Ahab has a new pump, he no longer has a pulse….how spooky is that?

    Reply

  2. Don Bacon says:

    July 16 (Bloomberg) — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to South Asia this weekend amid criticism at home that the war in Afghanistan is foundering and doubts that Pakistan shares U.S. goals in the conflict.
    Clinton’s Afghanistan stop is part of a nine-day trip that includes Pakistan, South Korea and Vietnam. In Kabul, Clinton will focus on civilian development work to build up Karzai

    Reply

  3. JohnH says:

    “our unqualified SecState” is giving the incomparably incompetent Condi real competition for most abysmal SecState. I never thought it was possible!

    Reply

  4. Don Bacon says:

    Toles: “regardless of costs. . .”
    Let’s see, the Congress appropriated $33bn to whack about 350 of them al-Qaedas in AfPak — that’s about a hundred million dollars per terrust — sounds about right to me.
    Meanwhile, Newsweek is coming out with a feature story that might start to bring the curtain down just as our unqualified SecState is visiting Afghanistan.

    Reply

  5. JohnH says:

    Nadine truly lives in her own alternate reality (AKA hasbara).
    Turns out that UNICEF was the source of the estimate of 500,000 childrens’ deaths caused by US sanctions.
    http://www.unicef.org/newsline/99pr29.htm
    So who are you supposed to believe–Nadine’s imagination or on-site surveys by UNICEF?
    Nadine says that her fantasy is more believable than UNICEF!
    Ha!-Ha!-Ha!-Ha!-Ha!-Ha!-Ha!-Ha!-Ha!-Ha!-Ha!

    Reply

  6. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    Using the IAEA as an example you have convinced me that UN agencies can be relied upon. And now you claim they exaggerate? How confusing. Well, the US Secretary of State believed it so who am I to argue. I guess you lose again.

    Reply

  7. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, you are a doofus if you believe the exaggerations of the UN estimates. They were working hand-in-glove with Saddam at the US’s expense (does oil-for-food ring a bell)? The corrupt UN honchos were getting rich off Saddam’s oil money and willingly spreading his lies. They all reported the dead baby parades at face value. Saddam was buying journalists and NGOs all over the damn place with oil vouchers. Don’t you remember, they found the Oil Ministry records in 2003? The head of Al Jazeera was on Saddam’s payroll.
    If the Iraqis were suffering bad water, it was Saddam’s choice.

    Reply

  8. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, the US didn’t help Iraq develop chemical weapons — but the French, Germans and Russians sold them whatever they needed. Go yell at them. Oh, but for them it’s alright, you don’t mind who they sell to.
    And what do you care if they sold to Saddam? You love Saddam. You jump to defend him. You deny his mass graves. How can it be the biggest crime to ever sell Saddam anything (if you’re Reagan) to being a non-issue (if you’re France, Germany or Russia) to being a good thing if you’re Iran helping Saddam kill Americans?
    You swing from being wildly anti-Saddam to being pro-Saddam. The only constant is that you hate America and from your imaginary perch of moral purity, despise whatever America does or has ever done.

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  9. Don Bacon says:

    Published on Friday, July 21, 2000 by Reuters
    UN Says Sanctions Have Killed Some 500,000 Iraqi Children
    BAGHDAD – A senior U.N. official said Friday about half a million children under the age of 5 have died in Iraq since the imposition of U.N. sanctions 10 years ago.
    Anupama Rao Singh, country director for the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), made the estimate in an interview with Reuters. “In absolute terms we estimate that perhaps about half a million children under 5 years of age have died, who ordinarily would not have died had the decline in mortality that was prevalent over the 70s and the 80s continued through the 90s,” she said.
    A UNICEF survey published in August showed the mortality rate among Iraqi children under 5 had more than doubled in the government-controlled south and center of Iraq during the sanctions. Baghdad said the UNICEF survey proved that the sanctions were killing thousands of children every month and called for an immediate end to the embargo.
    Rao Sigh blamed malnutrition for the high mortality rate among children. “Nutrition was not a public health problem in Iraq in the 80s. It emerged as a major problem in the 90s and it increased steadily till about 1996,” Singh said.//
    NOTE: Bad water was reportedly also a factor. The US would not allow chlorine.

    Reply

  10. nadine says:

    JohnH, you moron, there were never 500,000 dead babies. It was obvious at the time to anyone who could count, but that’s not the Left. After 2003, the doctors in Baghdad explained Saddam’s orders: they had to snatch infant corpses out of their grieving families’ arms, save them in the morgue for a month so Saddam could have his dead baby parades.
    Saddam would claim all those dead babies had died only yesterday, and America-hating Leftists like you would believe it, multiple x 10 for the rest of the country and x 365 for all the days in the year and come up with 500,000. If that number were remotely close to true, there would be no kids in Iraq today between the ages of 8 and 18. None! But of course it was all the BIG LIE which you bought and you disseminated.
    That’s your logic.

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  11. JohnH says:

    Ah yes, Saddam did his dirty work will full US knowledge and aid.
    But, you see Mr. Bacon, Saddam was America’s friend back then, so it would have been impolitic for Uncle Sam to criticize him then!
    Friends only criticize friends–no matter how egregious their behavior–when they are no long friends.
    According to Nadine, that’s probably written somewhere in the US Constitution!

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  12. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    Thanks for bringing up some history — Saddam killed with the help of Ronald Reagan, and then this help was used as a pretext for the US invasion. Stupid.
    from greenleft.org, Australia:
    “On August 18, the New York Times carried a front-page story headlined, “Officers say U.S. aided Iraq despite the use of gas”. Quoting anonymous US “senior military officers”, the NYT “revealed” that in the 1980s, the administration of US President Ronald Reagan covertly provided “critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war”. The story made a brief splash in the international media, then died.
    “While the August 18 NYT article added new details about the extent of US military collaboration with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during Iraq’s 1980-88 war with Iran, it omitted the most outrageous aspect of the scandal: not only did Washington turn a blind-eye to the Hussein regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers and Iraq’s Kurdish minority, but the US helped Iraq develop its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.
    “Nor did the NYT dwell on the extreme cynicism and hypocrisy of the current US administration’s citing of those same terrible atrocities

    Reply

  13. JohnH says:

    Nadine logic–
    Saddam killed a lot.
    Therefore, the UN was justified to put in sanctions that killed a half million children.
    And the US was justified in presiding over the deaths of a million or more.
    And it was just fine to leave a million or more widows. And millions of orphans. And millions of refugees.
    But, Nadine says, Saddam killed a lot. Therefore, anything the US did was justified. Because Saddam was a brutal killer, the US could be even more brutal, killing as many millions as it wanted, leaving as many widows as it wanted, orphans and children as it wanted.
    This is the logic of Israeli supremacists as applied to Gentiles…

    Reply

  14. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    Your fabrications are accumulating. Now it’s that HRW said “300,000 bodies they exhumed”.
    Also false.
    Wanna go for the trifecta?

    Reply

  15. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, it’s not “my” fabrication, it’s the HRW number. Of course it happened. You think a UFO landed and took the disappeared people to Mars?
    Nothing is more disgusting than the left’s wish to embrace the most murderous fascist regimes on the planet, if they can score points against America.
    You were against Saddam when you claimed Reagan was “for” him (he wasn’t, he was just for the continuation of the Iran-Iraq war, a piece of realpolitik that was backed by every country in the Middle East except Iran and Iraq. America was against both those regimes). But when Bush 41 turned against Saddam to reclaim Kuwait, the left turned for Saddam, and have been for him ever since. No lie is too great to whitewash him. Slaughter of the Shia? Anfal campaign? never happened according to you.
    Just disgusting. But Saddam’s dead baby parades, and the claims of 500,000 dead babies a year in Iraq due to sanctions (a number that if true, would have completely wiped out entire age cohorts in the country), those the Left bought lock, stock and barrel.
    Even Christopher Hitchens, an unreformed Trotskyite, had to break with the Left when he discovered that the Left had gone pro-fascist in their urge to be anti-American.

    Reply

  16. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    Why not simply admit that “300,000 bodies they exhumed” was simply another of your fabrications? It never happened and you know it.
    And why would leftists want to whitewash somebody like Saddam Hussein who was so close to Reagan and so far from Clinton? Reagan really hearted Hussein during the eighties, and you know that too.

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, that 5,000 number has been bandied about since 2004 by leftists eager to whitewash Saddam. The Iraqis have steadily been finding hundreds of mass graves — including one recently that held 300 Kurdish children. It is estimated that between the Saddam’s campaigns against the Shia and the Kurds, at least 400,000 Iraqis were disappeared somewhere.

    Reply

  18. Don Bacon says:

    Toles: “Regardless of costs. . .”
    Legions Of Iraqi Squatters Grow Even As War Recedes
    by Kelly McEvers, NPR, July 15, 2010
    In Iraq, about 2 million people have been displaced by the war and sectarian fighting. Aid groups estimate that nearly 500,000 of them are living in cities and towns as squatters.
    U.N. officials say the Iraqi government and aid agencies are only now recognizing the magnitude of the problem. Some refugees have returned to find their homes occupied. Others were forced to flee violence as tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims erupted.
    . . .Now, Um Sara, her ailing husband and four children live on the first floor of an abandoned office building. Raw sewage drains into the courtyard and her family and visitors have no choice but to walk through it to get into their makeshift home. Inside, it is totally dark because there is no electricity.
    “Look,” Um Sara says, waving her hands in disgust. “We have nothing.”
    More than half of Iraq’s 500,000 squatters are in Baghdad, says Shoko Shimozawa with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. She says the number of squatters is increasing because people like Um Sara are finding it harder to make ends meet and officials are only now looking for

    Reply

  19. Don Bacon says:

    Sorry – the photo doesn’t work. I know better than to pull a photo off my email, really I do.
    They were injured GIs on stretchers, so you can google away with images if you have a stomach for it. I do think it helps to connect with the realities (costs) of war — even a “necessary” one. These numbers have faces, and (had) lives, albeit young ones.

    Reply

  20. JohnH says:

    “regardless of cost”
    Up to 1 million widows in Iraq. (suggesting a million husbands killed)
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100706/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq_s_widows
    Other reports put the number of widows at up to three million. On top of that, millions and millions of orphans.
    You would think that that tireless defenders of womens’ rights like Wigwag would wax her righteous indignation. But no, the plight of women and children is only a problem when a country is not part of USrael’s sphere of influence.

    Reply

  21. Don Bacon says:

    Toles: “regardless of costs. . .”
    July 15, 2010 By LUIS MARTINEZ, ABC News [Excerpts]:
    According to numbers compiled by the Defense Manpower Data Center, 2,000 Americans have been wounded in Afghanistan through July 3. That is almost as many as the 2,139 that were wounded in 2009. The 2009 wounded figures were themselves a three-fold increase over the previous year.
    In another alarming statistic, four times as many American service members have been wounded in the first six months of 2010 as were wounded in the same time frame a year ago. Through the end of June, 1,922 American service members have been wounded in Afghanistan. That compares to 485 wounded through the same time period last year.
    June not only was the deadliest month ever for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, as 60 service members died in the conflict, but it also was the month that saw the highest number of American wounded. In June, 517 Americans were wounded, continuing a trend from May, when 406 were wounded. For comparison, the previous record high since the start of the war in Afghanistan was the 416 wounded in August 2009.
    The Taliban insurgency also has increased the number of attacks used against coalition forces in Afghanistan. For example, through June, the number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or roadside bombs used by the Taliban in Afghanistan had increased 22 percent over last year

    Reply

  22. Don Bacon says:

    Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.–60 Minutes (5/12/96)

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  23. Don Bacon says:

    They have actually found 5,000 corpses in Iraq, not 300,000, as many as the US military kills in one good bombing raid or city attack (Fallujah).

    Reply

  24. rc says:

    “I’m sure the Iraqis are just imagining the 300,000 bodies they exhumed from his mass graves… ” (nadine, Jul 17 2010, 1:26AM)
    I don’t have the exact dates but I think Saddam H. was working for the US for most of this time, including killing about a million Iranians defending their country and revolution.
    But, hey, what’s a few facts in some good revisionist history narrative!
    SH only became persona non grata when he went off the $US for oil transactions. Most of the reason for the hysteria with Iran today imho.

    Reply

  25. nadine says:

    We know you don’t like to see Saddam impuned, Carroll. He was one of your favorites, wasn’t he? I’m sure the Iraqis are just imagining the 300,000 bodies they exhumed from his mass graves, too. Some “Israeli” (I believe the usual word is “Jew”, why not use it?) invent that too?
    But that’s okay. Saddam was all for the Palestinian suicide bombers, just like you are. Paid each of them $25,000. “I support Hamas” is your middle name now, Carroll.

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    gawd! nadine…you are so boring.
    That sounds just like the old story about Saddam throwing babies out of incubators that your favorite Israeli congressman (now dead thank god) made up.
    This is more interesting:
    washingtonpost.com > Nation > Checkpoint Washington
    About This Blog
    Checkpoint Washington is produced by the national security staff of The Washington Post.
    America is a thing you can move very easily’
    Netanyahu: ‘America is a thing you can move very easily’
    The United States and Israel have made a huge effort this month to patch up the sometimes difficult relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. But a newly released video of Netanyahu, speaking in an unvarnished manner in 2001 about relations with the United States and the peace process, may cause some heartburn at the White House.
    “I know what America is,” Netanyahu told a group of terror victims, apparently not knowing his words were being recorded. “America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their way.”
    Netanyahu also bragged how he undercut the peace process when he was prime minister during the Clinton administration. “They asked me before the election if I’d honor [the Oslo accords],” he said. “I said I would, but … I’m going to interpret the accords in such a way that would allow me to put an end to this galloping forward to the ’67 borders. How did we do it? Nobody said what defined military zones were. Defined military zones are security zones; as far as I’m concerned, the entire Jordan Valley is a defined military zone. Go argue.”
    Gideon Levy, a left-leaning columnist for Haaretz newspaper, declared: “This video should have been banned for broadcast to minors. This video should have been shown in every home in Israel, then sent to Washington and Ramallah. Banned for viewing by children so as not to corrupt them, and distributed around the country and the world so that everyone will know who leads the government of Israel.”
    Of course, the video is from nearly ten years ago. Opinions change, based on circumstances and experience. But who knows what leaders are really saying when they think the cameras aren’t filming?
    By Glenn Kessler | July 16, 2010; 2:06 PM ET

    Reply

  27. nadine says:

    “Local groups like Hamas (and the former PLO): They seem to
    be more about territory, nationalism, and political objectives
    within a confined political conflict, than vague, universalistic
    religious dreams, although religion obviously plays an
    important role in recruitment, legitimacy, and motivation within
    the movement. ” (Paul Norheim)
    Recruitment, legitimacy and motivation? So religion is just the cover story, not the real deal?
    I think that just because you don’t believe in any religion, you have decided that nobody does. That it’s all a cover story, not a core ideology. Well, not necessarily.
    There are any number of ways Hamas could have improved their position (such as by lying and saying they would recognize Israel) that they refuse to do because it’s against their religion. Some Hams leadersmay just be out for Number One, but their track record says many are true believers. As long as you don’t get that, you will not understand them.
    Have you listed to those who are in Hamas, or who came out of Hamas? What about Mosab Yousef, the “Son of Hamas”:
    “Now 32, Yousef is the eldest son of one of the founding members and leaders of Hamas, Sheikh Hassan Yousef–an accused terrorist currently serving six years in an Israeli prison. The younger Yousef, “son of Hamas,” was raised in the West Bank as a devout Muslim. He became heir apparent to his father’s high rank within Hamas, founded in the 1980s as a purist, Islamic alternative to the corrupt and basically secular Palestinian Liberation Organization.
    As Yousef describes it, Hamas “Islamized” the Palestinian problems, taking them down a road on which there could be no peace with Israel–only full-blown terrorist opposition to its existence. At the age of 18, busy buying weapons, he was arrested by Israeli security forces. They beat him, interrogated him and imprisoned him with other members of Hamas.
    During that stint in prison, he saw Hamas leaders torturing their own people in ways worse than anything the Israelis had done. Hamas had its own disciplinary forces, demanding strict compliance with Islamic law, keeping score and meting out horrible punishment for infractions. They often targeted the lowliest and weakest among their ranks as suspected collaborators with the Israelis and forced bizarre confessions from them while shoving needles under their fingernails or melting plastic trays onto their bare skin. Yousef writes, “Every day there was screaming, every night, torture. Hamas was torturing its own people!”
    He began to question where Palestinian leaders were taking their people. Yousef already had no love for Yasser Arafat, whom he saw as “A cheap ham, who bought his place in the limelight with Palestinian blood.” Arafat, he writes, was never interested in reaching a real peace; he had grown rich “as the international symbol of victimhood,” and “wasn’t about to surrender that status and take on the responsibility of actually building a functioning society.”
    Yousef began to question Islam. He compares it in his book to a tall ladder–a deadly ladder–with prayer at the bottom, charity and good works on higher rungs and jihad as the highest rung. He describes traditional Muslims as dwelling at the foot of the ladder, “living in guilt for not really practicing Islam.” Higher up are the moderates, whom Yousef sees as dangerous because you never know when they might take that next step: “Most suicide bombers began as moderates.” And, “At the top are fundamentalists, the ones you see in the news killing women and children for the glory of the god of the Qur’an.”
    http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/04/palestine-hamas-suicide-bombers-opinions-columnists-claudia-rosett.html

    Reply

  28. Don Bacon says:

    A network without contact links is not a network.

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    Don,
    a loosely connected global network; and in many groups in
    different parts of the world more an inspiration than a matter
    of direct links. Al Qaida may have been stronger in the past,
    but it was always more dependent on the (over)reaction of its
    enemies than on its own capacities for the success of its
    operations.
    The invasion of Iraq must have come as a big, but pleasant
    surprise for the leadership. The continuation of the war in
    Afghanistan may even be better from their perspective.
    Invading Iran would be just beyond their wildest imaginations
    back then in 2001, because they hate the Shia regime in
    Tehran much more than the Americans do.
    On the other hand, Washington used 9/11 as an excuse to
    invade Iraq, an unrelated option that probably would have
    remained unavailable for a while if not for 9/11.
    As for the leader of al Qaida, his image is clear, and his status
    more or less irrelevant. He would be useful even as a ghost, a
    rumor. Especially as a rumor.

    Reply

  30. Don Bacon says:

    Calling al Qaeda a global network requires one to picture the leader, who may or may not be alive, either in a cave or some other secluded spot which is continually inaccessible to any sort of surveillance, visual, electronic, etc., but who nevertheless commands a widespread network of agents and “terrorists” who threaten our security.
    Leon Panetta, CIA Director: “Its affiliates and followers in Iraq, North and East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and other countries continue to work to develop plans that threaten this country and that threaten the potential for our ability to survive.”
    They (whatever they are) “continue to work to develop plans that threaten this country and that threaten the potential for our ability to survive.”
    Makes no sense.
    Now some trivia, starting with Melville’s first words.
    “Call me Ishmael. . .And, doubtless, my going on this whaling voyage, formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a long time ago. It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo between more extensive performances. I take it that this part of the bill must have run something like this: ‘Grand Contested Election for the Presidency of the United States. ‘Whaling Voyage by one Ishmael. ‘BLOODY BATTLE IN AFFGHANISTAN’” — Moby Dick, or, The Whale
    This passage, an example of Melville’s humor, brackets Ishmael’s mundane going to sea between two important events. The election reference is an allusion to the unusual presidential campaign of 1840 characterized by “Tippecanoe and Tyler too,” and the Afghanistan bit refers to the Khoord Kabul battle of 1842, the “high tragedy” which shocked the British Empire and attracted attention in America. (h/t JSTOR)

    Reply

  31. Paul Norheim says:

    There is no doubt that Al Quaeda is “bad”. So bad that it,
    despite its modest material means, managed to create at trap
    for the most powerful nation in history, resulting in two wars -
    “exposing the limits of America’s power”, as Steve Clemons
    often formulates it.
    Don Quijote? The windmills?
    We may perhaps as well compare these events with Gulliver and
    the Lilliputs in Swift’s most famous novel – but in this case the
    lilliputs are not only much smaller than Gulliver; they are also
    much fewer than the soldiers of the United States. And smarter.
    More resolute. More ruthless.
    Al Qaida’s ambitions are grand, even bigger than those of their
    enemy, the superpower – although the ambitions of the latter
    are less clear at the moment, a moment of crisis, then in
    former decades.
    But although al Qaida express political demands and
    objectives, their ambitions are less political than religious and
    existential (spiced up with a dose of romanticism that attracts
    young recruits from London and the suburbs of Paris, to Boston
    and Minneapolis).
    Al Qaida’s goal is a “Caliphate” – a global Umma – but this goal
    is much more abstract and vague in a political sense, than the
    territorial goals and economical or political interests of those
    they often exploit, like the Palestinians, the Chechens, the Iraqi
    Sunnis, and the rebel movements in Kashmir etc.
    In the myriad of Muslim resistance or rebel movements, and
    among the political leaders of countries from the Maghreb
    region to Indonesia, there is of course both a religious and a
    political component motivating their actions. But the mix is
    different from movement to movement, from state to state.
    Let’s take some of the most frequently mentioned parties,
    movements, and states, as examples:
    1) Local groups like Hamas (and the former PLO): They seem to
    be more about territory, nationalism, and political objectives
    within a confined political conflict, than vague, universalistic
    religious dreams, although religion obviously plays an
    important role in recruitment, legitimacy, and motivation within
    the movement.
    2) Global networks like Al Qaida, who transcend (but
    nonetheless aggressively exploit) territorial boundaries and
    local political claims wherever they operate. They do have
    specific political demands and objectives, both on a local, but
    especially on a universal level, and within a grandiose historical
    framework (vague and utopian); but their motive is more of a
    religious, existential, cultural, romantic, and anti-modern
    nature, than strictly political. Al Qaida is a bit like the Trotskists
    in communism, favoring a permanent revolution (/terrorism)
    with vague goals that transcend politics.
    3) Groups that may have been among the ideological origins of
    current universalist movements like al Qaida – especially the
    Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, but also the Wahabis in Saudi
    Arabia – but who have specific, local objectives within a
    national framework.
    4) States that support Islamist groups like Hamas and Hizbullah
    - especially secular Syria and the theocratic rulers in Iran.
    These states are essentially neither motivated by territory nor
    by religion in their support for these groups; they are basically
    motivated by REALPOLITIK – just like the Arab states -
    regardless of their religious affiliations.
    I wanted to mention this especially with regard to the old
    debate here at TWN whether terrorism is motivated solely by
    territorial and local disputes, or claims and objectives of a
    more general (ideological or religious) character. I am not
    convinced that the territorial and local disputes are sufficient to
    explain phenomenons like terrorism and resistance, despite the
    data pointing in that direction.

    Reply

  32. Don Bacon says:

    That’s the trouble with similes, they all break down eventually, like my old ’38 Ford which . . .

    Reply

  33. JWags60 says:

    Moby Dick? The manisfestation of Ahab’s ultimate personal conquest. I would have thought you all would have referenced Don Quixote chasing windmills. After all, apparently there’s nothing really bad about Al Qaeda. Unless of course you mean to say Moby (Al Qaeda) ultimately destroys Ahab (us) in the end. If you read the book, Moby wasn’t a kind, but a vengeful Cetacean.

    Reply

  34. Don Bacon says:

    There’s always those hidden costs–
    The Army released suicide data today for the month of June. Among active duty soldiers, there were 21 potential suicides: one was confirmed as a suicide, and 20 remain under investigation. For May, the Army reported 10 potential suicides among active duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, four have been confirmed as suicides, and six remain under investigation.
    What a shame. Good young people. Gone.

    Reply

  35. John Waring says:

    http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/60097
    The above is a lovely article by Josh Mull detailing why our war policy in Afghanistan is not in the American interest.

    Reply

  36. Don Bacon says:

    rc, thank you. And it surely is a great cartoon. A classic.
    JFK obviously not only valued an open society but also respected the American citizenry. We all should, in all our debates, in all our deliberations. Otherwise we are wasting our time.
    Well, he was from Massachusetts, what more can I say. James Otis Jr., and all that.

    Reply

  37. rc says:

    Great cartoon.
    Don Bacon, Jul 15 2010, 11:25AM — I’m reminded of this speech by JFK: “President John F Kennedy Secret Society Speech”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhZk8ronces&feature=related
    … or if you prefer a more contemporary set of images (there are many choices)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNFCIaG9TwQ
    Listen to Kennedy’s speech and then read Clinton’s comments and judge Obama. There is a big job ahead if the USA wants to survive as a free nation.

    Reply

  38. Sand says:

    USAID — reminds me of that guy that wrote the book… Economic Hitman or something…?

    Reply

  39. JohnH says:

    US development strategy: Bravo! long overdue! Maybe they can dedicate some of the funds to developing education and health care at home. Otherwise, where will they find enough people who speak foreign languages and aren’t too obese to risk going abroad?
    Is Israel a strategic asset? Their only value is their willingness to do jobs that even the CIA and Xe won’t touch. This is why you see Mossad agents operating in large swaths of Latin America. The jobs are too nasty for even the US to risk being associated with it…
    Sad when Israel’s only strategic value is its willingness (eagerness) to act as a hired goon.

    Reply

  40. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Didn’t I upgrade Darth Cheney’s name to Capt’n Ahab ages ago? He was chasing wmd’s, real or virtual. I see he just had a new pump installed. I remember, again ages ago, when I said he went to the hospital just so people would think he had a heart, but really just had a Haliburton-built pump that needed the occasional lube job. So his doctors put one in, now?

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  41. Don Bacon says:

    Toles: “. . .and try to restructure the whole society”
    from Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy
    “The White House is moving closer to finishing a sweeping review of U.S. development strategy that aims to put development on par with diplomacy and defense as a “central pillar” of U.S. national security, according to sources familiar with the issue.
    “The Obama Administration recognizes that the successful pursuit of development is essential to our security, prosperity, and values,” the draft document reads. It promises a “new approach to global development that focuses our government on the critical task of helping to create a world with more prosperous and democratic states.”
    The State Department is currently finalizing the interim report for its own wholesale policy review, the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). The QDDR is led by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and Deputy Secretary Jack Lew, with heavy input from Policy Planning chief Anne-Marie Slaughter who has been a champion of a scheme to create an Anglo-American led “Concert of Democracies.” (note: John McCain promoted a ‘League of Democracies.’)
    Compare this to the PNAC goals:

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  42. samuelburke says:

    “Hirst: Lobby

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  43. Don Bacon says:

    Toles: “We will invade and start counter-insurgency and try to restructure their whole society against all odds, regardless of cost.”
    It’s no joke, this is the essence of “Smart Power” as applied to “liberal internationalism.”
    Susan Nossel, 2004: “Progressive policymakers should turn to the great mainstay of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy: liberal internationalism, which posits that a global system of stable liberal democracies would be less prone to war. Washington, the theory goes, should thus offer assertive leadership — diplomatic, economic, and not least, military — to advance a broad array of goals: self-determination, human rights, free trade, the rule of law, economic development, and the quarantine and elimination of dictators and weapons of mass destruction (WMD).”
    SecState Clinton gets it. “We are implementing the strategy President Obama announced in December. Success requires a fully integrated civilian and military effort, one in which security gains are followed immediately by economic and political gains. As new troops arrive, our civilian surge has already tripled the number of civilians on the ground, and it is these civilian-led efforts that will translate the bravery of our troops into stability for Afghanistan and security for Americans. The challenges are still great. The enemy is still determined. But we are recapturing the momentum in Afghanistan. New funds in 2010 will give us the capacity to move forward at a time when every day is crucial.” — Senate testimony, March 25, 2010, regarding a request for $37.5 billion to support overseas contingency operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
    So it’s “a fully integrated civilian and military effort” to support “overseas contingency operations.”
    We can breathe a sigh of relief. The neocons are gone and the liberal internationalists are here.
    Tell me again the difference between Coke and Pepsi?

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  44. JohnH says:

    Was “Ahab’s” quote lifted from Darth Vader in Star Wars?
    Al Qaeda probably feels that they’re playing the role of the “jeddah” knights…

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  45. non-hater says:

    @ Paul Norheim – could you give some warning next time you post something like that? It’s still early in the morning in some parts of the world. :)
    Toles is a treasure, though, to be fair, some people have been making the same point since 2003.

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  46. rc says:

    Queensland is a dangerous place, especially if you’re not white!
    http://qldcops.blogspot.com/2010/03/palm-island-death-in-custody-case.html

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  47. Paul Norheim says:

    That’s not far from where you live, right Kotz? May I suggest that
    you rent a submarine and harpoon and eliminate these nefarious
    threats to Western Civilization?
    I have a hunch that Saddam’s WMD may be hidden in an underwater
    cave in the same area.

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  48. Paul Norheim says:

    Apparently, some of the Al Quaeda leaders have been hiding 1400 meters below sea level northeast of
    Cairns, Australia.
    http://www.qbi.uq.edu.au/index.html?page=137977
    More pics here:
    http://www.dagbladet.no/2010/07/15/nyheter/miljo/fisk/milj/forskning/12568977/

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  49. Don Bacon says:

    At the end of Melville’s novel, Moby Dick, the great white whale, kills the entire whaling ship’s crew with the exception of Ishmael, a wandering alien sailor. Talk about an ill portent.
    Whaling is now frowned upon as a cruel and un-necessary pursuit. Let’s wish a similar fate for “counter-insurgency.”

    Reply

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