Anatomy of a Column
eggy Noonan, Bacardi Lifetime Achievement Winner, closed the curtains in the Aviary 2 (the clever name she gave her new spacious penthouse hight above Manhattan) as the winter storm blasted The City. “It’s colder than Nancy Reagan’s kisses,” she thought to herself as she mixed another warming libation.
Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest president ever, had made her the Nembutal once, long ago on a cold night in D.C. Consisting of warm rum, hot chocolate, and a shot of peppermint schnapps as a chaser, it had that kind of sticky sweet feeling she always associated with her old boss. At any rate, when the barometer started dropping she laid in a supply of ingredients and prepared for her long winter’s nap.
Noonan picked up The Atlantic and scanned the stories, and settled on What ISIS Really Wants, by Graeme Wood. Two Nembies later (light on the hot chocolate, Noonan was rationing after all), she put down the magazine, missing the cocktail table and declared to the cheery fire,
A U.S. invasion and occupation, Mr. Wood argues, would be a propaganda victory for them, because they’ve long said the U.S. has always intended to embark on a modern-day crusade against Islam. And if a U.S. ground invasion launched and failed, it would be a disaster.
She turned to face the cardboard cutout of Ronnie, and continued her theme to her two-dimensional love.
The best of bad options, Mr. Wood believes, is to “slowly bleed” ISIS through air strikes and proxy warfare. The Kurds and the Shiites cannot vanquish them, but they can “keep the Islamic State from fulfilling its duty to expand.” That would make it look less like “the conquering state of the Prophet Muhammed.” As time passed ISIS could “stagnate” and begin to sink. Word of its cruelties would spread; it could become another failed state.
“Well, Mommy, er, Peg,” voice of Reagan replied from the life-size cutout replied, “that sounds a lot like President Obama’s strategy.”