The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

What ‘Disrupting’ and ‘Defeating’ al-Qaeda Means to Obama

Last updated: 07/31/2020 08:00 | 03/27/2009 10:07
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Adaline Fritz

In my last post, I asked what it means to “disrupt” and “defeat” al-Qaeda, which President Obama said in his speech was the goal in Afghanistan-Pakistan. Denis McDonough, the National Security Council’s director for strategic communication, fielded those questions for me.

Referring to recent intelligence reports about al-Qaeda planning attacks on the United States from its Pakistani tribal-area safe havens, McDonough defined “disrupting” as “those plans not [being] further carried out.” So disruption is about planning, and the relevant measurement is a lack of further attacks on us. “Defeating” is about giving an alternative to “the violent, hopeless future” that al-Qaeda offers, though “different opportunities available to Pakistanis and Afghans and others.” Notice that “defeat” here is has an *ideological *meaning, and its primary measurement comes from the perceptions of Afghans and Pakistanis themselves.

So I followed up: is the goal then no safe havens? Or measured in al-Qaeda operatives killed and captured?

“We need to shut that safe haven down,” McDonough replied. “How we succeed against al-Qaeda members? The president has made very clear for years now that there’s a hardcore [membership of al-Qaeda] that there’s no reasoning with and no political process for. … At the end of the day, they have to be met by force alone.”

TWI is on Twitter. Follow Spencer Ackerman’s ongoing coverage of President Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy here.

Adaline Fritz | Adaline's upbeat, can-do attitude and nurturing disposition make her perfect for understanding each client's wants and needs and skillfully directing them toward their real estate objectives. Adaline has experience in all facets of the real estate process, having started in the administrative sector and progressed to operations before achieving success in real estate sales. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and Western Oregon University, and returned to the Portland area in 2011 to pursue a career in real estate. She also loves traveling, working out, and spending time on the water during Portland's beautiful summers.

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