Hey, we bagged another #2!

Story here.

Either being the #2 guy in al-Qaida in Iraq is the equivalent of being the anonymous redshirt dude in the landing party on Star Trek TOS, or we’re making stuff up, or something.

This is more or less political, which is why I put this in GD. The only debate I can think of is whether 1. we’ve actually killed or captured several successive #2’s or if 2. there are actually several #2’s at any given time, or 3. this is just more B.S.

I’m thinking 2, with a side of 3.

Because everyone knows who #1 is.

#2, however, can fluctuate depending on how big of a snow job you want.


It’s logical that once a “#2” is removed, whoever was “#3” at the time would immediately become the new “#2”.

I’m unsure of what the OP is getting at. If we whacked the old number 2 guy then does that mean the the number 2 slot is gone forever? Makes no sense. Just like any chain of command, when the commander gets whacked whoever is next in line takes his slot…all the way down to some lowly private.

Being the number 2 guy in AQ is kind of a dangerous position these days. I’m unsure why you think there is come contradiction here. We are TRYING to kill or capture ANY of the AQ ranking personnel after all. Sometimes we get lucky, which means that AQ in turn needs to replace people who are eliminated from the board. Haven’t you ever seen a movie where the captain gets killed and some LT comes in to take his place?

I’d say we’ve actually killed or captured several members of their command structure (whatever their supposed number is), and that when we do those folks need to be replaced. Seems pretty logical to me. Again, why does there have to be several number 2 men at any given time (or why would this be a problem if there were…think of a corporation with VP’s who run divisions)?

Are you saying we never get lucky and whack any of AQ command structure? Or perhaps you are thinking they really don’t have any kind of organized command and control structure? Or…something?


Reporting that the #2 has been killed is like reporting that Iraq has ‘turned a corner’. The first few times it’s encouraging; after that it just sounds like going in circles.

It’s also interesting that it’s always #2, and never #3 or #4. Makes you think that since they can’t catch #1, they’re reporting any significant person as #2.

I doubt that Al Qaeda in Iraq has a formal rank structure anyway. When they say, “we killed the number two man” I always figure they mean they killed someone reputed to be the leader’s right hand man. Whether he actually was the second most powerful person in the organization is a murky issue, compounded by the secrecy of the organization.

But it makes perfect sense that we would kill a few “number two men” but not get the leader himself. He’s probably much more carefully guarded than anyone else in the group.

Please clean up after your terrorist!


Just in case you really don’t get it, An Arky is saying that he/she thinks we are lying.

Ah…I see. To be sure, that was my assumption…that the OP ‘thinks’ we are lying. But…lying about what exactly? That we killed anyone? That the person killed was part of the command structure? That the person was supposedly ‘#2’?

And based on what? And assumption based on the source? Some kind of factual cite saying that we in fact didn’t kill anyone, didn’t kill someone in the command structure, that the person wasn’t in fact ‘#2’? The OP asked how it was possible that we could kill several ‘#2’ commanders…and it seems that logically it’s quite possible and even probable that we’ve kill SOMEONE in the command structure many times. What effect this may or may not have on their overall C&C is debatable…as is how exactly they are ranking these folks we are killing or capturing. But doesn’t seem that much of a stretch to me that we get lucky every once in a while and actually manage to take out one of the bigger fish.

I’m willing to look at some cites though showing that it’s all a lie on which ever aspect of this OP that you or the OP wants to present.


I think there might well be some prevarication happening, but I’m more :dubious: about why they’re always saying it’s the #2. Often enough, you read in the article that it’s the leader of Logistical Support, or Marketing, or Office Linebacker or whatever. Why can’t they just say that? Even the Pentagon must realize that saying they got #2 over and over is wearing down even the most credulous. I’m not saying they didn’t get anybody, or that they weren’t important.

Because ‘#2 man in the organization!’ sounds better of course. And most people are clueless how command structures are organized or function…all they know is from the movies. So, saying we took out one of the top logistics guys is going to fly right over most peoples heads, as they have no idea what that means. So, instead, we fluff it up a bit for popular consumption.

In reality, sometimes taking out some middle level commander is MORE effective and damaging than taking out the ‘#2’ guy…but most people don’t realize how that works.

Myself, I take the whole numbering system with a large grain of salt and just automatically translate it to mean someone in the higher command and control hierarchy…i.e. a top ranking officer or official.


We used to refer to any Star Trek redshirt dude as “Ensign Expendable”.

Hmmm… a totally unrelated thought just occurred to me: perhaps Der Trihs (‘Red Shirt’ or ‘Shirt Red’ backwards, depending on how you look at it) based his user name on the hapless Star Trek extras.

To the OP: Why don’t you do a little research to convince us of what your thesis is? How many #2s have we bagged over what period of time? It’s not like this happens every week or even every month.

So it’s a lie. It’s exactly like the “CLOSE DOOR” button on many elevators. Total bullshit, utterly and knowingly false, cynically designed and offered up to make the dull-witted feel better about life and trick people into thinking they have some control over their world.

If this were advertising I’d be inclined to give it a pass–deception is part and parcel of commerce and probably necessary to some degree for “efficient” (read: cut-throat) capitalism in general. Why do you think the all-powerful ‘Invisible Hand’ decided to be invisible?

Nobody expects absolute honesty or candor from a TV spot but it shouldn’t be too much to ask from our government. Or is that setting the bar too high? Damn, I sure hope not. Fortunately, it looks like we are finally about to “turn the corner” on some of these lies, and not only are we about to take down the Number 2 (A.K.A. Satan)-- but Number 1 (A.K.A. Number 43) as well. And it’s for real this time–no bullshit here.

In other words it’s a lie.

And why should I trust these people when they say they killed someone important at all ? Or even that they killed someone in Al Qaeda ?

I took the name from a character in the webcomic Schlock Mercenary, who in term was named after Red Shirts.

The Close Door button is used when the elevator is on “independent service” or “manual” control. When it’s in that mode, the elevator will stay at a floor with the door open until you pick the floor you want to go to and hold the Close Door button until the door closes. It’s useful if you’re loading or unloading things.

Funny that the elevator is mentioned. My co-worker and I were commenting on how the button works in our elevators. Pushing it causes it to immediately close.

I didn’t know that. Ignorance successfully fought! However, I’ll add that it still seems at least unintentionally deceptive to have a button clearly labeled “CLOSE DOOR” that does not, in fact, actually close the door–at least while the elevator is in normal operating mode (if I understand your explanation correctly-- I might not).

Your average Joe Elevator-Rider probably isn’t going to know whether or not the elevator is on “independent service” or “manual” control. He’s just going to think that “CLOSE DOOR” actually closes door. And normally, it doesn’t.

“I am not a number — I am a free man!”

Unless you’re #2. There can be any number of #2’s.

Yeah… it was always my sense that an elevator could be installed with different ‘set-ups’-- some of which can allow for the CLOSE DOOR button to function (during "normal operation) because I’ve encountered some lifts where the button actually worked. Perhaps those elevators were just on the ‘manual’ or ‘independent service’ control that Captain Amazing explained, but they didn’t seem to be leaving the doors open on each floor as he/she described.

But that is really quite enough of the big hijack I started… at least for me! :wink: