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June 08, 2006

What a Day

First the US military kills Zarqawi, then the US Senate kills the estate tax repeal. This feeling...so unfamiliar...contentment?

Update: And the FDA approved the cervical cancer vaccine. Don't pinch me.

June 8, 2006 | Permalink


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FDA approved the cervical cancer vaccine, too.

Posted by: sprocket | Jun 8, 2006 4:06:24 PM


Posted by: Andrew Cory | Jun 8, 2006 4:13:30 PM

Sprocket -- Still might be too early to call victory on that one.

Posted by: Brad Plumer | Jun 8, 2006 4:13:37 PM

Good link there Brad. Yeah, it's just one hurdle in the track unfortunately. "Dr. Finger" is gonna have me laughing for the rest of the day, tho!

Posted by: sprocket | Jun 8, 2006 4:18:48 PM

I agree with you, but just because I'm physiologically unable to let good news stand, this reminds me of something. We (finally) get a certain named terrorist (projected impact: little), and the Senate doesn't vote to repeal a low-impact tax that only hits the very rich... "When the creation of 'whale song remixes' passes for being 'somewhat empowering', Democrats really need to retake a chamber of Congress."

Posted by: Cyrus | Jun 8, 2006 4:56:39 PM

And the current estate tax (in it's lower form) doesn't expire till 2011 (or 2010?), so it will stay as it is so Repubs can try, try again for 4 or 5 years to keep the lower tax rates. Not really so good.

Need we note that Iran seems to have gotten most of what it wanted in the back and forth negotiations, and has agreed to conduct discussions, so maybe Bush can't have his bi-annual war this year.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jun 8, 2006 5:10:51 PM

First the US military kills Zarqawi

Another corner turned, huh?

Posted by: Phoenician in a time of Romans | Jun 8, 2006 8:59:16 PM

Can we get plan B now please? I promise I won't have sex for like a year.


Posted by: RcerX | Jun 8, 2006 10:35:31 PM

Zarqawi, or How Bush Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Hunt: Why killing Zarqawi puts our troops at risk

So Zarqawi's dead. We can all go home now?

All the major news outlets are abuzz with the news of Zarqawi’s death. Regardless of how one feels about the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there is little question that Zarqawi was a danger to our troops and needed to be stopped. However, headline proclamations of having killed “the leader of Al-Qa’eda in Iraq” are disingenuous at best. At minimum, they serve to betray the tragic lack of understanding – at both the local and governmental level – of the kind of threat we are facing on the ground.

From the very inception of the War on Terror, this administration has attempted, both rhetorically and strategically, to present Al-Qa’eda as a unified terrorist organization with a handful of supposed puppet-masters. Unfortunately, this assessment is tragically false. Global terrorist networks are fundamentally different in both structure and strategy than any previous threat to international state security. Unlike traditional warfare where power emerges from a single locus, Al-Qa’eda is a radically individualized movement full of mini-leaders, self-starting cells, and zealous lone gunmen. The killing of any localized “leader” does nothing whatsoever to affect the actual power base any more than the ousting of Hussein did to staunch the threat posed by Iraq.

Despite rhetorical proclamations to the contrary, this administration has remained entrenched from the beginning in a pre-9-11 mindset. This tragic inability to think outside the box is perhaps the single most significant reason why Bush is losing a war of his own creation. The bottom line is that we are not dealing with a foreign government, nor are we tackling a guerilla movement centered around a charismatic individual. Were this to be the case, it would certainly be a reasonable strategy to target the enemy’s power locus (their government or leadership) as the entity responsible for directing the country’s assets against you.

However, what this administration seems to have a difficult time grasping is that terrorism functions as an essentially populist movement where power derives from the bottom, not the top. There is no single government or leadership that will cause the beast to come crashing down but rather hundreds or maybe thousands of tiny, quasi-governments capable of acting with complete autonomy. Within such a network, Zarqawi no more represents the power behind Al-Qa’eda than any other zealous individual motivated to strike against U.S. interests.

I believe it is infinitely more likely is that Zarqawi’s death will further inflame anti-Americanism across the entire region. Within the specific subsection of terrorists motivated by Zarqawi’s leadership, his death will only serve to create a localized power vacuum. In the face of his absence, it is far more probable that several individuals will vie to fill the void through independent operations, each more vicious than the last, in order to prove their merit. Absent Zarqawi’s leadership, whatever form of "command" he had over his followers has now been abruptly splintered and the U.S. will likely face a more diffuse and erratic level of aggression.

Were this administration to finally get serious about fighting this war, rather than playing the role of cowboy in a ‘dead or alive’ posse, they would confront the ideology to which terrorists claim allegiance rather than the individual, armed expression of that ideology. In this way, perhaps the administration could cease inserting itself as a causal factor into the very problem is claims to be solving.


Posted by: urthwalker | Jun 9, 2006 7:31:06 AM

urthwalker The dysfunction of this administration - or disassociation between "mission statement" and results - is so pronounced a trend as to make one seriously consider their systemic adoption of a child psych method of dealing with people : say the opposite of your intent.

Posted by: opit | Jun 10, 2006 2:00:44 AM

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