Speed Reads

The Daily Showdown

Jon Stewart offers ISIS rival al Qaeda some advice: Embrace your 'artisanal, slow-terror' brand of murder

Jon Stewart is bracing himself for another war in Iraq. After welcoming back the same U.S.-led coalition from the 2003 invasion, Stewart noted a possible new addition — Iran — on Tuesday night's Daily Show. The new battle is to quash ISIS, a terrorist group so bad that even "mortal enemies" like the U.S. and Iran can work together, he added. But even some of ISIS's natural allies hate the Islamist militia — notably al Qaeda, which has been largely eclipsed by the new terrorists on the block.

Stewart made a surprisingly plausible analogy of al Qaeda and ISIS as Coke and Pepsi, dueling it out for the 18-to-25 male demographic. ISIS is winning on weaponry, social media, production technique, recruitment, and fundraising, while al Qaeda's pushback is outsourcing to India. But if al Qaeda can't compete with ISIS, it should turn its flaws into strengths, Stewart taunted. "Al Qaeda, you're not old fashioned, with the caves and the VHS tapes — you're an artisanal, slow-terror bomb-to-table organization." --Peter Weber