The puritanical carrot-crunchers at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) have always harbored a not-so-secret animus toward the companies that provide Americans with a generous menu of food options. It is now clear that this callous antagonism knows no bounds. In a speech yesterday, CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson compared the war on obesity to the war on terrorism, and equated food companies with the Taliban. We’re not making this up.

Jacobson began by quoting U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson:

Once you start giving out awards for a particular company, a particular fast food industry recipient or a soft drink, I think the other ones are going to say, ‘you know, I want the award next time and I’m going to do more to get it.’ I think it’s much better to be on the positive side than the negative side.

For Jacobson, it’s all vinegar. Apparently, Secretary Thompson’s “positive” approach that awards companies for combating obesity is equivalent to rewarding sworn enemies. Here’s how Jacobson sees things:

Our government’s response to the war on obesity, a condition that contributes to up to several hundred thousand deaths a year, is the equivalent of sending Cub Scouts armed with popguns to fight foreign wars. Can you imagine Defense Secretary Rumsfeld saying that the way to fight terrorism is to give awards to the nicest members of the Taliban?

It’s just a matter of time before Jacobson starts handing out decks of playing cards featuring the names and photographs of top restaurant chefs and food company executives. Then again, we probably shouldn’t give him any ideas.