What To Think About Hellfire Missiles

That are designed to kill a single person.

That’s what my government’s Central Intelligence Agency decided to use to kill Ayman al-Zawahri in Kabul last week as he read on the balcony of a “safe house”. Two missiles to be exact.

We’re supposed to celebrate this. “There’s no where to hide. We will find you no matter how long it takes.”

But I don’t find the revenge satisfying at all because it will do nothing to slow, let alone reverse, the mutual hatred between Al Qaeda and my government, and the back-and-forth killing associated with it.

As I read the account of how the C.I.A. tracked al-Zawahri (Netflix production probably in progress by now), two analogies came to mind. That of a mafia war where competing families ramp up the violence and that of a gang war where competing sides mindlessly kill more and more of one another.

Are we supposed to feel safer with al-Zawahri gone? As if there aren’t younger successors waiting in line to seek revenge on our seeking revenge?

Where does it end? What’s the non-drone, non-hellfire missile plan for deescalating the violence?

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