December 25, 2003

TAPPAHANNOCK? Charles Paul Freund has some tough questions for Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri:

But then the attempted destruction of comparatively successful Muslim societies by a lunatic fringe is an old story, isn’t it? Osama bin Laden’s very first words directed to the West, as the Taliban were being overthrown, evoked lost Islamic Spain. But the glories of Spain’s Umayyads were destroyed not by European Inquisitors; they were ruined by armies of North African proto-Islamists who were as angry and as destructive and as crazy as you are. Cordoba and Toledo and Granada achieved their golden ages not through the efforts of people like you, but despite them. In the course of the struggle between an Islam of achievement and grace, and an Islam engulfed by righteous futility, have you never noticed that even Muslims prefer to forget people like you and to remember the other side? Even you and Osama, it seems, attempt to co-opt precisely the Islamic history you are attempting to negate.

But—my apologies—you’re no doubt busy planning noxious slaughter and here I am failing to get to my question, which is not about Umayyad Spain at all. It’s about Tappahannock, Virginia.

Read the whole thing. A reader, meanwhile, notes that the USS Tappahannock might be the real target, as it’s a fueling ship that would make a satisfactory explosion if it were hit by a plane.

UPDATE: Several readers note that the USS Tappahannock has been mothballed and isn’t likely to be much of a target at present.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Another reader notes that there is a USNS Rappahannock.

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