Hunting The Jackal The Memoir Reaction Paper


Waugh's view of terrorism and communism as inherently the same underlines how the CIA is often 'fighting the last war' when it creates its policies, rather than creatively responding to the new geopolitical environment. This simple elision of all forces against the U.S. As evil can be seen in Waugh's comment: "From Korea to Afghanistan and every conflict in between, I have fought whomever my country ordered me to fight. For fifty years in sixty-four countries, I have sought and destroyed my country's enemies -- whether they be called Communists or terrorists -- wherever they hide" (Waugh xv). He credits his determination to his mother's willingness to 'tan his hide' unless he made perfect marks as a child. Even today, succeed or fail, Waugh wants to hunt down the evil-doers who hate the United States, and there is little moral ambiguity to his quest.

The failure to appreciate, for example, the different factions of Islam and the complex tensions of the Middle East, even the difference between the hatred for the U.S. Of the secular dictator Saddam Hussein for America vs. The religiously-fueled hate of Bin Laden, quickly becomes manifest in Waugh's prose. The blindness that was exhibited by America's leadership regarding Iraq is reflected in a Cold War, bipolar analysis with little applicability to the Middle East. The jackal of the book's title is the terrorist Waugh tracked during the 1990s, Carlos the Jackal in Khartoum, (colloquially called K-town) but other than the Jackal's inhuman dangerousness, there is little understanding as to why the world spawns people like Carlos and who so many people in the Islamic world follow Bin Laden and hate the U.S. This mentality is further reinforced by Waugh's statement when he is training foreign nationals in counter-terrorist strategy: "I will not participate in discussions of a political nature…usually this statement would be enough...


Waugh is not interested in learning about the mindset and the culture of the people he is training, he regards it as irrelevant.
Waugh seems like a man who loves the adrenaline and exhilaration of tracking a criminal, of a good fight. He even criticizes the relatively dispassionate nature of modern warfare, in comparison to his own experiences in Vietnam. Waugh thinks modern soldiers are 'soft' saying he "had a hard time adjusting to the hands-off style of warfare, but the Special Forces boys sure enjoyed it. The way it works now, they can drink their coffee while they're destroying somebody" (Waugh 223). Waugh says he only feels "alive" when he is going to war in a direct fashion (Waugh 208). The Special Forces boys, drinking their coffee are in stark contrast with the first image he presents of himself in the book: " I waited to die in a rice paddy in Bong Son, South Vietnam…[I thought] Damn, my military career is finished. I'll never see combat again" (Waugh 1).

Waugh's advanced age forces the reader to cut the author some moral 'slack' regarding these attitudes. He is, after all, seventy-two years old, and admits to being something of a relic of a bygone era. However, the attitudes Waugh expresses should act as a warning to future leaders not to view terrorism as a simplistic phenomenon and to paint all of America's enemies with the same ideological broad brush. Waugh believes that international law, approval from Congress, even the view of conventional military men (whom he also despises) is mere interference, while he is doing what needs to be done. The fact that fighting for freedom in Waugh's mind requires circumventing the democratic process is taken for granted.

Works Cited

Waugh, Timothy. Hunting the Jackal. With Tim Keown. New York: William Morrow, 2004.

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Waugh, Timothy. Hunting the Jackal. With Tim Keown. New York: William Morrow, 2004.

Cite this Document:

"Hunting The Jackal The Memoir" (2009, August 07) Retrieved May 26, 2024, from

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"Hunting The Jackal The Memoir", 07 August 2009, Accessed.26 May. 2024,

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