Sunday, May 20, 2007

George Bush's Flypaper = Slow Bleed for America

Endless This Occupation of Iraq!

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:
  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Soon after the Anglo-American occupational force discovered that they weren't ever going to be greeted as liberators, the Flypaper concept was fabricated to justify suppression of Iraqi popular resistance. Andrew Sullivan, writing in The Sunday Times is the first pundit I know of who discovered Flypaper embedded in a September 2003 briefing by U.S. Army Gen. Ricardo 'Torture' Sanchez, (then commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq). Iraq. Sanchez said,
...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.

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.
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.

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?

18 comments:

  1. We are not succeeding because we are at cross purposes.

    Maybe this means we don't plan to ever leave. If that is case, how convincing can our oft proclaimed compassion for the Iraqi people be. We can't deliver peace, prosperity, democracy, civil rights, and painted schools while at the time luring the most violent mass murderers in the world to their land and turning the country into one vast killing field.

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  2. According to UPI:

    When a recent visitor asked him what assurance he could give about his successor in 2009, President Bush replied, "we'll fix it so he'll be locked in." The visitor left perplexed and wondered whether that might mean the United States would be in a wider war in the region by then. In any event, it didn't sound like twilight time for Bush.

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  3. 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.

    I do not believe that these guys will finish their terms. Something is gonna give. Right now they are still being rewarded for all their bad behavior. How is it that this system rewards these tormentors of the American people and the world?

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  4. Vigilante, I'll second that Bravo!! Well written and very thought provoking.

    You add much needed intelligence and logic to the discussion of Iraq, past and present.

    But what of the future? Because you stop at the critical juncture of the analysis, I must agree with all you have written. But what happens next?

    Withdrawal, as proposed by Pelosi, Murtha and company answers nothing at all. Withdrawal is just a word, not a strategy, not even a tactic.

    Withdrawal, as a proposal, is fatally flawed. No thought for the future, no analysis beyond the single word.

    Your analysis of Bush's failures are so very correct, let us apply the same brilliant logic to any future plans (by any politician or candidate or political party) for Iraq and all of the middle east.

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  5. Wizard, I don't know how Vigil would answer. For myself at this juncture, I would sign on to the first comment of Indicted Plagiarist and Skip Sievert above. (As a matter of fact, Sievert's statement is the best I've ever seen him post anywhere.)

    We are at cross purposes in Iraq. We have peaked. We are in over our depth. With British withdrawal imminent and taxing our logistics from Kuwait in the near term; the Green Zone is sustaining mortar attacks; our casualties are increasing. Tell me where is the surge of good news?

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  6. It's 3rd down and 15. Each play we make, we get another down, but more casualties, more collateral damage and more yardage in penalties. Time to punt.

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  7. That Flypaper methodology produced the catalyst that's about the break up the Middle East in smitherens...

    Flypaper is the ultimate neo-con dogma.

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  8. In this kind of guerilla/civil war going on in Iraq achieving victory was always going to be the harder endeavor for us. Going in without the needed number of troops to keep the peace and prevent a power vacuum from forming along with creating an occupation government staffed by second rate political cronies who knew nothing of the culture or history of the region doomed this crusade/experiment/empire building just about from the outset.
    The insurgents just have to continue to wear down our ground forces that are recycled through time and time again with no real amount of fresh troops taking up the burden. Seems like we are stuck to a flypaper of our own creation and can't pull ourselves off.

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  9. I agree with everyone! That is rare indeed! Good thoughts Skip.

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  10. The Flypaper BS is not only dangerous and immoral it is also wrong. When Rudy G and McCain. tell us that the terrorists are going to come here, I say "The terrorists in London were HOME GROWN." There is nothing now stopping us from producing HOME GROWN terrorists right now, and the injustice of our Iraqi occupation makes home grown terrorists even more likely. Nevertheless, this must be an affective argument with Americans because Guiliani and McCain are still using it. Bravo Vigilante! I agree with everyone, too.

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  11. Excellent article, Vig. Actually, the reverse of flypaper is true. The longer we are there, the more potential terrorists are recruited and trained. The more terrorists there are, the greater the risk that they will attack us here. Bush's war for oil and conquest makes us less safe, not more.

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  12. You have outdone yourself!

    Yup, don't forget we were over there before 9/11. That's why they came over here.

    Why, oh why, have we not caught Osama bin Laden? That's what I don't understand.

    This Iraq war is a big flap to distract us from focusing on the one person who should have been caught.

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  13. Tom Cat, you have a point that flypaper strategy is reversible and can go both ways: we can find ourselves to be the flies, landing on al Qaeda's flypaper. Recall Osama Bin Laden's tape- October 2004:

    "All that we have to do is to send two Mujahideen to the furthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note. . . . . we, alongside the Mujahideen, bled Russia for ten years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat. . . .

    So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy."

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  14. Perhaps we should pay more attention to the Iraqis who arrive in our country before our troops return. Thousands of Iraqis are fleeing the war in their country daily. In the past seven months, the U.S. has admitted just 69 of them, including only one last month. Contrast that with Sweden which plans to accept 25,000 in 2007. But good news: Republican Chris Shays and a handful of Democrats are sponsoring legislation which will open the doors a crack so the USA can do its duty in accepting Iraqis who have a bull's eye on their back because they believed and participated in Bush's mission. Opening this door wide will eventually become an essential step in ending this occupation. So this is a good omen.

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  15. Will anyone here be surprised if the war expands ?
    It would seem that the Politicos from both sides of the Special Interest divide of Repubs and Dems are complicit in the next 'war' coming up in the Middle East.
    Because our system is driven by profit and war means super profits, Iran is next.
    Will some group rescue the American people from our Political establishment ?
    Will Bush and Cheney be stopped, before the next bloodbath ?
    Will these liars and monsters for the 'System' be given a free pass ?
    Stay Tuned.

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  16. Has anyone paying attention to the degrading of ground transportation infrastructure in Iraq? IED's, snipers, blown bridges? What effect are these factors taking on our logistics?

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  17. Wizard, I tried to address your concerns this morning. I'm sure I didn't satisfy them, however.

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