“When you hear people say … ‘If you kill one of them, they’ll just replace him with another leader,’ remember that that’s like saying, ‘If you take out Robert E. Lee or Ulysses S. Grant, well, they’ll just replace them with another leader,’” Rice said.
As Mark Grimsley notes,
That’s our Secretary of State, Condi Rice, comparing Lee and Grant to an Al-Qaeda terrorist, namely Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The comparison has been derided as unfortunate if not ludicrous, but my question is this: If killing a key Al-Qaeda leader can have such major effects on the terrorist organization as a whole, then why does the Bush administration seem relatively indifferent to the fact that six years after 9/11, its architects, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, are still alive?
“If you kill one of them,” it matters a lot — or not so much — depending on which one of “them” you mean, and whether you’ve killed them or not.
And then there’s the difference between a socio-political leader and a military leader…