RANGER AGAINST WAR: al Qaida, Inc. <

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

al Qaida, Inc.

The Emperor's New Clothes, Edmund Dulac

To raise your rifle is to lower your sights

--Being There (1979)

If you build it, he will come

--Field of Dreams (1989)

Why not make a provision for people who simply
may not be comfortable, or not psychologically or pragmatically
equipped, to deal with the state of being rehabilitated?

--Jerzy Kosinski

And she's assisting him? Frances Frago Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, delivered a maddening non-interview on National Public Radio this morning.

She refused to make one informed or declarative statement on the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate which outlined the self-inflicted wound that is Iraq. Three times the interviewer posted the question, "Is it true al Qaida had no capability in Iraq prior to 9-11," finally stopping his pursuit after receiving her inane comment about
"that's where we're killing and capturing them," and "they go to where the battle is."

So. . .if you don't give battle, then what?

And why did we make for them a nice little battlefield on which they can pick off our good citizens? Townsend stated, as if with conviction, "We are keeping them tied down in Iraq." Them--al Qaida in Mesopotamia, a franchise which did not even exists prior to 9-11.

It is the old one battlefield theory Richard Clarke spoke of. As if these irregulars abide by such niceties as battlefield etiquette.

Moreover, al Qaida in Iraq is the only al Qaida affiliate that voices their specific desire as being to attack America, and they really don't have a way to project their combat power, such as it is, to these shores. As al Sadr recently said, he wants a timetable for the Americans to leave. That is their goal. If you do not build it, they will not come.

Do Americans agree that somehow we should continue to sacrifice our service people on the altar of our never-ending war which we have chosen to pitch in Iraq? That somehow,
by throwing bodies to the lions, we are necessarily slaking al Q.'s hunger? And did our volunteer Army know they were being hired on to serve as metal magnets and flak jackets for America?

Townsend is skilled like the entire crew at conflating concepts. When asked, "Will Iraq energize the broader Sunni community," Townsend said, "In every past conflict, our enemies used images from the battlefield. . ."

I entered mid-clip, presuming this was the usual author or reporter interview. After 30 seconds, I wanted to throw whoever this woman was to the floor, so unlikable and shamelessly evasive was the swill she was dishing. How naive not to presume such distastefulness would have to be emerging from an administration shill.


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Anonymous Labrys said...

I can't "watch" the news. It makes me act a bit like an IED, myself. It is all I can do to read it, in a high backed chair with arms, where rolling back from the computer and disentangling gives me necessary cool down time. As it is, my yelps of fury and indignation often set the dog to barking.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 9:37:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


I can hear the lovely chorus now, weasels holding a stick, ala conductor (as they do in real life...)

I cannot remember feeling this reaction in the past. And it is not simply hormonal.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 11:27:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Killer Whale said...

I heard that interview, too.

I am staunchly against head-butting women.

But if there has to be an exception - this "Frago Townsend" woman goes straight to the top of the list.

Anyway - nice to come in and see quotes of the great Jerzy Kosinski.

BTW - Doesn't "Frago" rhyme with "Assh#le" - or is it just me?

Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 9:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Glad I wasn't alone in my visceral response.

I esp. like Kosinski's characterization of recalcitrant folk who simply won't be rehabilitated.
The blindest are those who refuse to see.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 11:42:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Killer Whale said...

That quote resonates with me on several levels. One - for the reason you pointed out in your post, Two - Kosinski is one of my favorite writers and Three - someone close to me is a recalcitrant person who simply will not be rehabilitated with regards to alcohol.

The "tough love" "demand" to get help has been ignored repeatedly. I sometimes wonder if there is some alternative, or compromise or "provision" to deal with folks like this.

P.S. - I know you are really Oprah and Ranger is really Dr. Phil. You two jokers can't fool me. I have known this all along - from day one. :-)

Seriously, thanks for letting me vent a little bit.

Friday, July 20, 2007 at 9:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


[smile]. I love Kosinski's phraseology: not "pragmatically equipped" to be rehabbed. That's the key--one has to have the turn of mind to round the bend. Otherwise, that crook is a mighty comfortable place to be.

It resonated with me as I, too, have seen this recalcitrant behavior. As we're waxing philosophical, I'll give you a visual from today:

I looked up while at a friend's, and noticed a lot of pine needles jutting out from a hole in the gutter. Water was dripping down. Of course, the water will flow freely, given you remove the blockage, but as it stands, it will stagnate and rust. Those are the "not pragmatically inclined" to rehabilitation.

Comfortably numb, and nothing will rout them out. The provision is allowance, I think, to let them be.

Friday, July 20, 2007 at 9:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Killer Whale said...

Thanks for that. I guess my response will eventually bring us full circle - back to the original post.

"Letting them be" can take two forms. Let them be in isolation - because you can't bear to see the destruction and dysfunction. But then you feel bad about them festering alone. Or "let them be" and sit with them from time to time - but you know that most meaningful conversation will involve lies and mistruths. And then you feel bad about facilitating the dysfunction.

I am contemplating trying to accomplish both with the addicted person in question. Sitting with them from time to time but asking the following question when I know they are not telling the truth:

"What do you want me to do when you lie to me? Do you want me to challenge you - Or do you want me to just smile politely and go along with it?"

So coming full circle to the original post and Ms. Assh#le Frago - I wish that interviewer had asked her the same question after her response regarding AQ in Iraq prior to the invasion -

"So ... What do you want the nation to do, Ms. Townsend, when you lie to us?"

Thanks for lending a "cyber ear" for the venting re: the addicted person stuff.

See ya later.

Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 1:06:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


A pleasure.

In response, it is most painful to watch one you love bray like a donkey against all your best efforts. Their chosen isolation is from us, so we are doubly hurt; we are rejected, they will dissipate.

It is a very hard thing to do sometimes, letting someone be. It feels both a betrayal, and a loss. But I think our only option if we are to behave with dignity and care, is to express our concern, but to respect their choice, also.

Even though their thinking might seem totally buggered up. As a human they have that right (unless they are criminally dangerous.)

This is a very hard attachment to release. My thoughts are with you.

Back to Ms. Townsend and all of her ilk: It would be ideal if people could say, "In the world I construct, I wish it this way. I am not capable, nor do I wish, to try anything else. Like it or lump it. If you want flexibility, go elsewhere." Then we are charged with going elsewhere.

Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 12:09:00 PM GMT-5  

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