Wednesday, August 11, 2004

In this age of partisan attacks and free-for-all political smearing, the Medium Lobster has seen one low blow follow another after another. Is there nothing vicious Democratic attack-dogs will not politicize? Alas, the answer to that obviously rhetorical question is a heartsticken "no." Because for the past week, certain individuals have repeatedly attacked the White House for doing its diligent duty in outing a Pakistani double agent working to expose an al Qaeda cell. Sadly, the reasoning being displayed by those criticizing the administration reveals not only a perversely partisan mind, but a lack of comprehension regarding the role of modern intelligence.

There are times in warfare when raw force, for reasons of stretegy or of simple human decency, is not an acceptable means of hastening the end of a conflict - but a show of force is. Hence the dropping of the atomic bombs in World War Two, the "shock and awe" tactic in the recent Iraq War, and so on. Rather than completely annihilating the enemy, the "show of force" demonstrates to the enemy that one has the ability to completely annihilate them, and so instills a terrifying dread of force that it compels the enemy to give up the fight.

Intelligence, of course, is just another instrument of war. And intelligence, like force, can only be used to a certain extent in any given situation. But a show of intelligence will instill an absolute dread of one's investigatory powers in the terrorist mind. So while Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan could only accomplish so much as an actual source of hard intelligence - perhaps breaking up a terrorist cell here, exposing a plot there, assisting in the capture of bin Laden lieutenants there - as a show of intelligence, exposed and outed as an intelligence source, Khan is far more valuable - terrorizing the terrorists themselves. The Medium Lobster would not be surprised if Osama bin Laden himself were trembling in some dark cave, marveling at the well-oiled efficiency of the American intelligence apparatus, wondering how many other theoretical Khans were out there waiting to inform on him.

In the future, the Medium Lobster looks forward to more intelligence initiatives against the terrorists, from the revealing of more top sources in the hunt for bin Laden to the spilling of the nuclear launch codes. America has the knowledge and the capacity to defeat its worst enemies; now it has to prove that to those enemies by revealing that knowledge.
posted by the Medium Lobster at 3:43 PM



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