We Drone Strike, Ergo We Are at War

Check out the logic top pundit David Ignatius employs here:

The United States just decided to step up its drone war [in Yemen], which is a sure sign that al-Qaeda poses a significant, continuing threat.

Ignatius has long served as a mouthpiece for the CIA, so it’s not like he lacks sources he could ask about why we’re going to start using signature strikes in Yemen. If he asked, he might find out that we’re using signature strikes because the civil war Ali Abdullah Saleh’s leadership failures incited is considered a threat to the US (or to the Saudis), independent of any threat AQAP might represent.

But instead, David Ignatius, DC insider, says we’re ramping up drone strikes, ergo al Qaeda must pose a significant, continuing threat.

The line actually serves as the punch line of a larger, equally poorly argued piece “proving” that because people are rebelling against the dictators who used the war on terror as yet another excuse to oppress their people, Osama bin Laden has won.

Egypt is a case in point: This has been a year of mostly nonviolent democratic revolution. But it has brought to power some Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood groups that share common theological roots with bin Laden. And the al-Qaeda goal of driving the “apostate,” pro-American President Hosni Mubarak from power has been achieved.

I would dismiss all this as more beltway inanity. But Ignatius wields this (il)logic even while he waves around those OBL documents he got in an authorized, exclusive leak from the Administration.

As Wednesday’s anniversary of bin Laden’s death approaches, I have been going back over my notes of these messages. I found some unpublished passages that show how bin Laden’s legacy is an ironic mix: His movement is largely destroyed, but his passion for a purer and more Islamic government in the Arab world is partly succeeding. In that sense, the West shouldn’t be too quick to claim victory.

The message the Administration has deemed Ignatius solely worthy to interpret and read is that OBL turned to unifying Muslims behind reformed governance at the end of his life, and therefore reformed governance must be opposed because it would represent a victory of what he calls “electoral bin Ladenism.”

And by pointing to documents that have purportedly been declassified but the rest of us aren’t permitted to see, and deploying the logic that says just because we’ve resumed targeting drones at people whose identity we don’t know, Ignatius “proves” there must be a reason to target those people and that reason must ultimately be OBL.

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11 Responses to We Drone Strike, Ergo We Are at War

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV Didn't Revelation have something to say about being marked with the Sign of the Beast? https://t.co/MYiwuRBzvO
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JimWhiteGNV Bar codes or RFI chips? Inquiring minds want to know! https://t.co/MYiwuRBzvO
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bmaz @benjaminwittes @CatherineWaldie So you claim on Twitter! I think you have #FashionFare
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bmaz Should read "Kentucky clerk asks SCOTUS for permission to keep being an ignorant bigot" https://t.co/R7mXOZt0p2
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bmaz @KagroX TrumpoX!
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bmaz @KagroX Coffee snob!
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bmaz @armandodkos Why does @jmartNYT equivocate on this like it is a legit question instead of honestly reporting what Dems think? #ClintonRules
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bmaz RT @Prof_Holland: Not many law students get opp 2 interact w/, teach to & learn from tomorrow's bus ldrs. @TAMULawSchool students do! https…
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bmaz @Prof_Holland @TAMULawSchool Please do. And report it too. Would love to hear about such efforts and spread them.
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bmaz @nycsouthpaw @nickconfessore Has always struck me on bank wires that there was a long arm for charging and a short arm for crediting.
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bmaz @Prof_Holland @TAMULawSchool I really think if that were case, more students might feel the call to service the less affluent sectors.
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bmaz @Prof_Holland @TAMULawSchool Seriously, the last half of law school ought immerse students in multiple real daily trial ct law, civ and crim
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