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May 10, 2006


Until today I'd never heard of this special Douglas Feith plan after September 11th:

Days after 9/11, a senior Pentagon official lamented the lack of good targets in Afghanistan and proposed instead U.S. military attacks in South America or Southeast Asia as "a surprise to the terrorists," according to a footnote in the recent 9/11 Commission Report. The unsigned top-secret memo, which the panel's report said appears to have been written by Defense Under Secretary Douglas Feith, is one of several Pentagon documents uncovered by the commission which advance unorthodox ideas for the war on terror. The memo suggested "hitting targets outside the Middle East in the initial offensive"...

Specifically, Feith wanted to bomb the "triple border region" where Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil meet. I think one thing's for sure: that would have been "a surprise." And, not just for Osama bin Laden.

Moreover, if the criteria was just that our response be violent and "a surprise to the terrorists," attacking South America is thinking kind of small. Here's what I would have suggested:

• assassinate the Dalai Lama
• blow up the moon
• have the entire Bush cabinet dress up as Carmen Miranda and then, on national television, commit hara-kari

I hope you might have some ideas of your own.

Posted at May 10, 2006 07:02 AM | TrackBack

I vote for the Carmen Miranda routine, but--once TV viewers catch the act, it will change the dietary habits of the nation.
Then, let the boys who hid Jimmy Hoffa hide the cabinet. I understand there is room.

Posted by: donescobar at May 10, 2006 07:22 AM

It would've been cool if Doug cut his ear and sent it to Osama bin Laden with a note: "guard this object carefully".

Posted by: abb1 at May 10, 2006 07:38 AM

How about setting all our own oil fields on fire? Not only would that have the effect of making us look crazier than, well an Iranian President, but it would also create jobs for the people to extinguish the fires. There might be some downsides, but I can't really think of any offhand.

Posted by: wkmaier at May 10, 2006 07:41 AM

The Newsweek article says 'Aug. 9 issue' but has a 2006 copyright. Is it from last August? If so, I guess the Cindy Sheehan story distracted most of us who would have picked up on it.

I see what made Tommy Franks offer his pungent evaluation...

Posted by: Nell at May 10, 2006 08:20 AM

Many ATR readers are likely aware, but for those who are not, the region in question is home to alot of descendants of Arab immigrants. When I was in I think Beit Jalla in the West Bank several years back, one of the major public buildings there, I think it was the hospital, had a plaque outside it noting that it was donated by descendants from the town in South America. Feith (if he's the one who wrote this) was not being random -- he is wanting to target Arabs where ever they may be.

Posted by: sam at May 10, 2006 08:26 AM

The obvious is bomb Japan. Remember? They have terrorists. And no one would expect us to attack a friendly country.

They just don't think outside the box in Washington.

Posted by: Secret at May 10, 2006 08:53 AM

I'm with Secret. (I enjoyed typing that sentence!) Of course, in the U.S., we have terrorists, too. But I don't think anybody would be surprised to see us bomb ourselves. Japan it is.

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at May 10, 2006 09:23 AM

also, japan still owns more of your country than the middle-easterners or the chinese.

Posted by: almostinfamous at May 10, 2006 09:23 AM

Coffee just spurted out of my nose...

Posted by: Lies at May 10, 2006 09:24 AM

I was thinking maybe we could stuff all public toilets with paper until they wouldn't function. The strategic rationale for this action hasn't fully gelled in my mind just yet--it's just what popped into my head.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at May 10, 2006 09:38 AM

We outsource the war on terror. To the Mafia.
No more Gitmo, Abu...They, I understand, take no prisoners.One theater of operations to each family. A victory for family values.

Posted by: donescobar at May 10, 2006 11:00 AM

Nothing random here -- Take a look, for example, at "Hezbollah's Global Finance Network: The Triple Frontier," from one of the groups associated with massive Islamophobe Daniel Pipes. It's probably mostly bs, but I'd guess the real target is to make the Arab communities in South America every bit a subdued and subservient as those in North America, which funny in a different way...

Posted by: sam at May 10, 2006 11:51 AM

Coffee just spurted out of my nose...

Mine too, and I don't even drink coffee! AAAAAGGH!

Which leads to an obvious candidate for a bit of administration "Terrorist-stompin' Performance Art."

See, we provide all Pentagon employees with espressos, point said employees towards Medina (Mecca would be too obvious), and...

Posted by: mds at May 10, 2006 11:54 AM

I think it's hara-kiri, not hara-kari.

But it's a grand idea.

Posted by: Saheli at May 10, 2006 12:05 PM

Invade Poland.

Posted by: Elayne at May 10, 2006 12:14 PM

Anything and everything but the RIGHT thing, GET OSAMA. That's how WE were sold out in the war on terror.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 10, 2006 12:27 PM

Bomb Afghanistan with thousands of copies of Ishtar on Beta.

Posted by: slim at May 10, 2006 01:11 PM

Begin a thorough investigation of what actually happened on 9/11 and craft an appropriate response which included capturing and trying those still alive who planned the attacks and fire everyone in government whose incompetence or negligence allowed it to happen.

That would have surprised everyone.

Posted by: Bob at May 10, 2006 01:54 PM

"Invade Poland," Elayne proposes.

The old stand-by. Dress up a bunch of prisoners from one of those secret CIA locations in Bulgaria in Polish army uniforms, force them to do a fake attack on one of our military "facilities" in Germany (then shoot them), and off we go toward Warsaw sans ghetto.

But, didn't the Poles help us in our war in Iraq? What drove them to such crazed betrayal, which, of course, cannot go unpunished? The Poles are deeply romantic and fiercely antisemitic people, love Chopin and French literature. There, that could be the start of an explanation.

Support our troops in Poland! Help Halliburton rebuild Warsaw!

I'd love it, but the Germans already got to do all the really good stuff. How about Switzerland? Not been invaded since...they drove out the Austrians? Nobody likes them. Snotty and rich.
Support our troops in Switzerland! Help Halliburton rebuild Zuerich!

Posted by: Dory Hollander at May 10, 2006 02:40 PM

My suggestion is: Bush returns to Florida, reads the Pet Goat book to other especially selected audiences of children, and in general act like nothing had happened...

Oops! That's what he already did about Katrina! Sorry, I'm behind the curve. That must have been Feith suggestion no. 20: Ak lik nuthing happend, dewd! Too kool fur skool!

Posted by: roger at May 10, 2006 02:44 PM

Bob's suggestion was my initial thought, but it's far too fantastical.

Jon - With your staff of seventy, The Editors had better look out!

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at May 10, 2006 03:23 PM

Did anybody read Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Agent?" A secret police agent of an unnamed country, but obviously Czarist Russia, suggested blowing up Greenwich Observatory. His reasoning was that to enrage the Brits into unconstitutional policies, a "terrorist" attack should be carried out on pure mathematics. But alas, there was no way to blow up pure mathematics, so the secret agent settled on the astronomy, that is, the Observatory.

Feith must have remembered Conrad's cautionery tale. Tell Feith to work harder, work out a retaliatory attack on pure mathematics. That will astound Osama bin Laden.

Posted by: John at May 10, 2006 06:18 PM

It's because of asinine ideas like this one that the country now thinks Democrats are better at national security.

Posted by: Urban Sombrero at May 10, 2006 06:42 PM

With your staff of seventy, The Editors had better look out!

No, no, there's still no way I can be expected to compete. I think there's like 500,000 of them.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at May 10, 2006 07:00 PM

Right on, Bob.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 10, 2006 07:16 PM

Since we are apparently our own worst enemy, we should have invaded ourself and taken no prisoners...

Posted by: jim in austin at May 10, 2006 07:33 PM

I recall,that General Tommy Franks said of Feith that he was "the most stupid ###### man in the world" I know why!!(Does he qualify for the "most stupid neocon of all time " AWARD ?)

Posted by: brian mckinlay at May 11, 2006 02:06 AM

I think we should absolutely nuke Prague.
I think Bin Laden wouldn't see that that one coming, but it would be perfectly reasonable action, of course:

1) as very reliable CIA report tells it, Al-Qaeda and representative of Saddam Hussein had meeting IN PRAGUE. It is surely enough to conclude that Prague is notorious center of international terrorism.
Hell, we have bombed lots of places in Afganistan, Pakistan Iraq etc. because Al-Qaeda members have reportedly been seen there. Admittedly, Prague is bigger than most of these places, but that's why we should use proper nuclear bomb. It would guarantee that none of Al-Qaeda members in Prague would escape.

2) Prague is also notorious center of international drug trade. I know lot of people who have bought pretty good locally grown marihuana from there.

3) Prague is also center of Czech Communist Party , which is probably strongest communist party in Europe nowadays, with hundreds of thousands members and supporters. We should stop their sinister plan to infiltrate democratic institutions of Europe. Europeans would no doubt be grateful to us when we end this this menace and save them from Communism (again).

4) Even if Europeans wouldn't appreciate our unselfish action, I think they would understand who's the boss and stop that stupid moaning about "international law" etc.

5) There is historical point to be made: we are not like German Nazis or Communists. After all both of them occupie... oops, ... tried to bring Real Democracy to Prague (in 1938 and 1968), but they didn't have guts to do it properly.
By nuking Prague, we would show the world that we are not losers like them.

I would suggest that they make one of those nice backdrop sets (like here
with text: "Hitler was a sissy!" and that would be used when we announce this victory of freedom.

Come to think of it, I can't understand why US government hasn't yet acted upon this imminent threat that Islamic-communist and narco-terrorist breeding ground in Prague poses to our national security.

Posted by: John at May 11, 2006 08:49 AM

A Hezbollah presence in South America? Maybe, just maybe, we should think about closing that giant security hole called the Mexican border. And it would help if the government could keep track of people here on legal visas, many of whom simply stay here.

Or is it true that nothing really changed on 9-11?

Posted by: zak822 at May 11, 2006 10:50 AM

Brilliant blog! Bombing South America also has the advantage that there will be a reduction in fuel usage to get to the targets :)

Posted by: geoff p at May 11, 2006 11:42 AM

Right -- both are used. But by Americans. The Japanese use "seppuku." (Or rather ... But the actual characters won't show up.)

Posted by: jonj at May 11, 2006 12:13 PM

Just wanted to let everyone know that I did not post the May 10th response to Elaine's "Invade Poland" comment that is attributed to me on your blog. Thanks.

Dory Hollander

Posted by: Dory Hollander at May 17, 2006 07:58 PM