"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Case in Point?

Fawaz Gerges has a mostly fine article about "Yemen's Summer of Discontent" (although you would have to believe that it was only this summer that AQAP's tactics shifted to "all-out war against what it called the “tyrant” Saleh government and its soldiers “who terrorize Muslims, support the crusade against our country, and are the first line of American defense in Yemen.”"  This is: not new.)   However, in that mostly fine article, he lays down this, in direct contravention to what I said yesterday.  It is like he didn't even read the blog.

In particular, Anwar Al-Awlaki—the Yemeni-American cleric the Obama administration designated in April as a legitimate target for assassination—provides AQAP members with theological, ideological and operational guidance.

This seems a pretty gross exaggeration, if not outright distortion, of what al-Awlaki does.  But this is, of course, the conventional wisdom.  I usually rebel against that, but maybe I am off my game.  So here's a question to readers or to bloggers: am I way behind the curve on al-Awlaki?   I kind of worry I underestimate his threat maybe as much as others over-estimate it.  Thoughts?


  1. I heard Greg on NPR last weekend, and really liked his comparing our obsession w/ Awlaki to the proverbial drunk looking for his keys under the lamppost. Not a perfect fit, as far as analogies go, but a useful bon mot. Since it seemed a bit colorful for Greg, I'm assuming that he got it from you--but regardless of whose idea it is, the others on the show quickly conceded the point. And that's a good thing; Conventional wisdom among the administration and the military hasn't yet become conventional wisdom among bloggers, think tanks, academics, etc.

  2. Paul,

    That was all me. I'm not just Brian's straight man.

  3. Yeah, it would be way too hypocritical of me to say anything insulting about drunks.