George Bush's Flypaper = Slow Bleed for America
There's a natural segue from Paul Wolfowitz into the subject of George Bush's Flypaper strategy.
Remember? It was Wolfowitz who disclosed to Vanity Fair in May 2003 that for 'bureaucratic' reasons, the war-starters actually had great difficulties deciding among the top three, basically different, rationales for invading Iraq:
. . . .there have always been three fundamental concerns. One was weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. . . we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason. . . . .Once there, the war-starters decided that we couldn't just leave because minimal regime-change - deposing a dictator - was not enough. Long story, short: three rationales for occupation emerged:
- Protection of oil resources. This talking point was not mentioned much because it was sensitive and subject to untidy and potentially damaging interpretations. Even though it was transparent to most observors, Bush and Cheney couldn't use petroleum openly as a rationale for occupation of Iraq for the same reason they couldn't name their invasion 'Operation Iraqi Liberation' (OIL): it was too. . . . well, demeaning, polarizing and revealing: Bush and Cheney weren't content acquiring our oil under other peoples' sand the old fashioned way (through purchase)
- The need to create and nourish democracies, wherever possible, because democracies are trendy and never attack each other (just other and weaker states). This was talked up wildly and uncritically as America's mission. 'Nation-building' was extremely altruistic, at least in the eyes of the war-starters, anyway. But nation-building lacked one crucial ingredient: fear. If and when the occupation started to go bad or became expensive in terms of blood and treasure (way beyond their wildest expectations), there had to be some fearfulness attached to any notions of ending occupation.
- The "Flypaper strategy' , which offers the false choice of fighting terrorists 'over there' in Iraq than 'here' at home in New York, was improvised as a rationale because it brought with it fear and trepidation.
...is what I would call a terrorist magnet, where America, being present here in Iraq, creates a target of opportunity... But this is exactly where we want to fight them. . . . This will prevent the American people from having to go through their attacks back in the United States.Later, Flypaper would be one of George Bush's favorite refrains. Take an example dated August 21, 2005:
Our troops know that they're fighting in Iraq . . . . They know that if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets, and they know that the safety and security of every American is at stake in this war. . . .And as recently as 10-April-07, speaking to the American Legionnaires in Fairfax VA Bush laid it on thick:
We want to defeat them there, so we don't have to face them here. . . . .The best way to defeat the enemy is to find them overseas and bring them to justice so they will not hurt the folks here at home. . . . What's interesting and different about this war is that the enemy would follow us here. . . . It's in our interests....to pursue the enemy overseas so we don't have to face them here.I want to point out that nothing close to Flypaper was ever envisioned for our troops going into Iraq. We were supposed to be fighting the jihadists in Afghanistan. Remember way back when? And, of course, no one thought of asking Iraqis ahead of time if we could lay out on our flypaper in their sun.
This cynical use of our highly-valued service men and women as bait seems not to be a problem for the dwindling number of Bush supporters. Listen to Dick Morris on a recent show of Hannity and Colmes, forthrightly claiming that we need to keep U.S. troops in Iraq so that terrorists don’t come to the United States:
I think that withdrawal from Iraq — it obviously gives al Qaeda a huge victory. Huge victory. On the other hand, if we stay in Iraq, it gives them the opportunity to kill more Americans, which they really like.Of course this Flypaper strategy is only a prescription for mutual attrition: will Al Qaeda flesh and will power last longer than Americans'? It is clear that it will. Al Qaeda jihadists arrive at the so-called front at a fraction of the costs, time, and logistics that its American adversary takes. Flypaper's premise is that there is a finite number of jihadist to recruited. In fact, each Sunni Iraqi killed generates multiple anti-American recruits from his klan. In a sense, it's not 'flypaper.' We're running a cadillac state-of-the-art, on-the-job training camp for terrorists.
One of the things, though, that I think the antiwar crowd has not considered is that, if we’re putting the Americans right within their arms’ reach, they don’t have to come to Wall Street to kill Americans. They don’t have to knock down the trade center. They can do it around the corner, and convenience is a big factor when you’re a terrorist.
The Flypaper rationale for endless occupation of Iraq has spawned a corollary which Richard Clark has dubbed Bush's puppy dog theory of terrorism:
He keeps saying that terrorists will "follow us home" like lost dogs. This will only happen, however, he says, if we "lose" in Iraq. . . . . The President must believe that terrorists are playing by some odd rules of chivalry. Would this be the "only one slaughter ground at a time" rule of terrorism?In the real fact-based world, as Clark says, nothing about our being "over there" in any way prevents terrorists from coming here. But that doesn't stop John McCain from robo-mouthing,
We lose this war and come home, they'll follow us home.This self-generating slaughterhouse we are running in Iraq cannot be stanched by surging occupation troops in Baghdad or purging puppet politicians in the Green Zone. Flypaper is a formula for squandering more lives and more treasure until the Constitutional term of Bush and Cheney expires on 01.20.09.
Is this what the American people are resolved to accept?