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  1. I haven’t read Doran’s piece, but isn’t it obvious that this war isn’t a zero sum game? Insofar as neither America nor al Qaeda has defined victory to require the total annihilation of the other, then it stands to reason that America’s strategic objectives in the war are different from Al Qaeda’s. Our main objective is to prevent further mass attacks against American civilians, particularly in the “homeland” (a term I dislike, by the way, since it sounds a little to Fatherland/Motherlandish for my tastes). Sure, we want to protect the flow of oil, insure Israel’s security, and prevent darkness from descending on the world like Orcs from Mordor, but we really care about destroying al Qaeda’s capacity to project power here. We can suffer lots of defeats and inspire a lot of new jihadists, but if they do not speak English and are not educated enough to function in the West, they will not pose a serious threat to the security of our homeland. Of course, the flip side is that we can kill “foreign fighters” all year long in Iraq, winning “victory” after victory, and if it does not degrade al Qaeda’s ability to operate in the United States it doesn’t mean a damn thing.

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