Thursday, August 21, 2003

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About that flypaper hypothesis

Mickey Kaus links to a lot of blogosphere and op-ed commentary touting the "flypaper" thesis of Austin Bay and David Warren. The thumbnail version of the argument (from Warren):

While engaged in the very difficult business of building a democracy in Iraq -- the first democracy, should it succeed, in the entire history of the Arabs -- President Bush has also, quite consciously to my information, created a new playground for the enemy, away from Israel, and even farther away from the United States itself. By the very act of proving this lower ground, he drains terrorist resources from other swamps.

Kaus observes:

It seems only yesterday that the "flypaper" theory of U.S. strategy in Iraq was a tiny little meme-speck on the horizon.... Today, it's perilously close to Conventional Wisdom status

The thing is, I don't buy it. In terms of the broader neocon vision of transforming the Middle East, Iraq needs to be an oasis of stability, not a grand opening for Terrorists 'R Us. [But what about Josh Marshall's theory that the neocons want greater instability as an excuse for greater U.S. intervention?--ed. If Marshall was correct, then the last thing the administration would want is for destabilizing elements to leave their home countries and go to Iraq. That would make it harder, not easier, to justify U.S. incursions elsewhere in the region.]

There's also this little nugget of information contained within today's Los Angeles Times story regarding the U.S. decision to seek another U.N. Security Council resolution in Iraq:

One possible compromise between the United States and other Security Council members would establish a separate contingent of UN forces that would report to a UN command structure and provide security for humanitarian missions and some reconstruction efforts. This might satisfy countries that want to help but don't want their soldiers under U.S. command.

Washington also hopes the resolution will call on Iraq's neighbors, particularly Iran and Syria, to block the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, according to diplomats in Washington. The influx of foreign forces has become a leading U.S. security concern. (emphasis added)

If the flypaper hypothesis is correct, then why would the administration be so concerned about border protection?

Maybe the LA Times sources are way off (nothing like this appeared in either the NYT or WaPo stories), but if they're right, then either the flypaper thesis is a load of bulls@#t, or the Bush administration underestimated how sticky the Iraq flypaper has turned out to be.

posted by Dan on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM


"Washington also hopes the resolution will call on Iraq's neighbors, particularly Iran and Syria, to block the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, according to diplomats in Washington. The influx of foreign forces has become a leading U.S. security concern. (emphasis added)"

E.G., view this as a UN Resolution the admin believes the two countries are sure to violate, giving legitimacy to isolation, sanctions, possible war......or y'all believe the neocons believe and want, Syria and Iran to play ball?

posted by: bob McManus on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

You assume that only one objective is being pursued at a time. A single action can serve multiple purposes.

The Bush Administration has repeatedly done this, most commonly with a secondary objective of giving people enough rope to hang themselves with. Building a consensus requires that the public be convinced that all lesser alternatives have been exhausted.

Colin Powell's fall 2002 negotiations with the French concerning Iraq are a perfect example. We won't go to the UN again.

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

I'm not sure that the flypaper hypothesis was posited as a conscious plan of action by the Bush Administration.

I certainly never viewed it that way. I see the flypaper hypothesis as a "silver lining" to the attacks. If Arab extremists are attacking American soldiers and Iraqi civilians, then those same people cannot simultaneously be attacking civilian targets in the US.

posted by: Ryan Booth on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

I agree with you Dan, although the Marshall theory makes more sense than you suggest. If the neocons really want an excuse to widen the war, an influx of terrorists from other countries would be a pretty good excuse.

More to the point, though, is whether that makes any sense in the first place. Virtually everyone agrees that we're stretched too thin at the moment, so is there anyone who could seriously be hoping to widen the war at this point in time?

posted by: Kevin Drum on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

And don't assume that the "flypaper" concept was an intentional strategy. No plan survives contact with the enemy. Rather it is more serendipity.

Blogger Trent Telenko has a different take on this, at:

Trent said that the violent Islamic nutballs attacking our forces in Iraq are fish out of water. They are foreigners there, and so both far less effective, and far more vulnerable, than guerrillas operating on their own turf. He also said that it makes a big difference that Iraq is a secular Arab state which has not been subjected to many years of extremist Islamic propaganda.

"All these folks are right, as far as they go. The real problem with that analysis is they do not go far enough. It only thinks through one campaign in the War on Terrorism.

The most powerful strategic offensive is one where you dictate the strategic and operational tempo of the war and force the enemy to attack a strong defensive position you have taken. In so many words, you want to be on the strategic and operational offensive and the tactical defensive.

It has been clear for some time that the one invasion in the Arab world will not be enough. There will be other invasions and occupations.

Successful irregular resistance to those coming invasions requires that the guerillas "swim in the sea of the people," to quote Mao. The aftermath of Saddam's secular tyranny and the ethnic divisions in Iraq has left it less than a pond for foreign Islamic extremists to act as guerillas. It is a mud flat. A ground of America's choosing where the Islamic extremists will come out of the the Arab world's deep water to be killed.

This is idea different from the "Flypaper" idea in that Iraq is also a training ground for future occupations by American forces. One that signals the next "low hanging fruit" invasion target and future 'mud flat' candidate.

The America military is learning how to occupy and successfully pacify a secular Arab tyranny. It will be far easier for America's military to occupy another secular Arab tyranny than an Islamic tyranny like Iran or Saudi Arabia ...

America is engaged in the powerful form of strategic attack. It has occupied ground of absolute importance to our terrorist enemy and is forcing them attack it. Breaking them as they try. Weakening them for future military invasions and occupations. This is the Bush Administration plan for the War on Terrorism, and it is working."

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

all I hear is GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM!!!

posted by: on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Regarding the notion that Iraq would be the first democracy in the Arab world, . . . . would it? I seem to recall that Yassir Arafat was "elected" by the Palestinians to represent them. But we took care of that "democracy".
Please don't be confused. The current administration has no interest at all in "democracizing" Iraq. It never has. Unless it can assure that whoever/whatever is elected is first and formost an ally of US business/oil interests. If elections were held in Iraq tomorrow, whatever administration took office would want us out. That's why there is no "democracy" yet. Before Iraqi elections, we must be absolutely certain we can rig the results, . . . much like we rigged the results of the recent Presidential election in Florida.

posted by: Joe on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Flypaper? Maybe so, but we seem to be the ones stuck to it.

posted by: Dickert on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Trent Telenko might want to consider how Lebanon, about as westernized an Arab nation as there is in the Middle East, didn't prove to be a place where Islamic and Palestinian who were drawn to the conflict there were wiped out.

The Bush administration doesn't have a plan so much as a rationalization for Iraq at the moment. Given that it will take something like two years to establish a government there and perhaps even longer to form a police force capable of dealing with guerillas, and I think we'll see just how patient and understanding the American people are about our being there.

What worries me is that the situation could even get worse in Iraq. If you think the current influx of Arab guerillas is bad enough, consider what might happen if some Chechens make it to Iraq, for example. Ugh.

posted by: David W. on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Calling Arafatistan a democracy is a joke. Seems to be that his (virtually unopposed) election occurred around '95 and he hasn't allowed another vote since. Sounds like the familiar one person, one vote, one time scenario. The Bush administration (unlike Clinton's peace industry guys) is honest enough to admit this and consequently has, perhaps naively, boosted Abu Mazen/Abbas as the only possible means of resuscitating the most promising candidate for the first Arab democracy.

posted by: DRW on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

I don't buy it either -- but that doesn't mean it's not possible to turn it to our advantage.

posted by: Roger L.. Simon on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Un Resolution? Help from UN and other members? Ohhh... Bush doesn't seem to know what he is doing - it is the same powerless UN security he rejected when he first attacked Iraq. He created the problem there and he is doomed to solve it himself or leave them alone. Cowboy style order failed to work for him.

posted by: on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

I see the "flypaper" hypothesis as a backup plan by the Bush administration to explain post-invasion why we needed to go to war in the absence of finding WMD's. The administration can simply state that we needed to be the “alligator” and pull all the "terrorists" into one convenient swamp far away from the shores of America in order to take the battle off our lands. The best swamp to do that it was Iraq, since it allowed us to remove a dictator.

You ask, "if the flypaper hypothesis is correct, then why would the administration be so concerned about border protection?" Other than the current spin regarding concerns about border protection, where do you actually see evidence that that US forces are doing anything concrete to protect the borders? To the contrary, I suspect the US plan involves making sure the borders are porous so that we can blame border countries such as Iran and Syria for hindering the US efforts and therefore establish them as part of the stated "axis of evil". Finally, as Al Qaeda crosses the borders to fight the "occupiers", the administration can now prove to the world that they exist in Iraq as prior justification for the war.

posted by: Peter Lawrence on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

The comment regarding Lebanon is good, if only to provide a stark contrast between the actions taken then, and the current administrations strategies.

Lebanon was allowed to degenerate to a point where only massive military intervention could have stabilized the country. Instead, we attempted half-measures that resulted in significant American casualties, then we tucked tail and retreated. If anything, our willingness to absorb injury without striking back there, as well as in Africa, paved the way for the increased militancy of Islamic jihadists.

Contrast that situation with the current Iraq. While Americans are still dying, our forces are striking back and removing terrorist leaders, enablers, and financers. We have not yet dismantled the terrorist infrastructure, but we are at least preventing its open and unfettered operation, and seriously compromised their ability to conduct large-scale operations against American interests here and abroad.

It will take time, and, unfortunately too many American casualties, but, when confronted with an enemy who will accept only your death or enslavement, "Negotiation is futile". From Iraq, there will emerge only one winner. If the US loses, we can expect the coming decades to be filled with terrorist attacks against our citizens and interests around the world.

posted by: Steve on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

If Bush had spent the same amount of taxpayers money replacing all gasoline fueled cars in the US with PowerCells, we wouldn't be having this debate. We would be enjoying one of the largest boosts to our economy in it's history while wiping out the economy (and funding) of the terrorist countries, and we would all be breathing easier (literally).

posted by: Michael B. on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Sorry, FuelCells

posted by: Michael B. on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

The "flypaper theory" smells to me like an after-the-fact attempt to explain away unpleasant developments. It assumes that there is a fixed number of radical nihilists, so that more in Iraq means fewer elsewhere. Whistling past the graveyard.

posted by: Nix on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Rigged the election in Florida? Ugh--Stupid Hippies

posted by: on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

I repeat that "no plan survives contact with the enemy." This is war, not diplomacy. Things happen without being planned even in diplomacy. One of the chief things which distinguishes winners from losers in war is the ability to adapt to make use of changing situations AND THE OPPORTUNITIES THOSE PRESENT.

David Warren, Austin Bay and Trent Telenko have pointed out different ways, with different reasons, in which American forces are doing just that in Iraq. What is happening is IMO very much to our long-term advantage.

I disagree with Trent about Syria (address your comments on that to him on Winds of Change), but feel he has a better feel for these events in Iraq than Warren or Bay.

Those who do not consider history will only encounter disconnected events.

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

The "flypaper strategy" idea seems so bizarre that I'm amazed any sensible person gives it a second thought.

First, the idea that drawing terrorists to Iraq will make the USA and the rest of the world safer is very questionable, to say the least. If the Iraqi situation is such a powerful symbol that it draws thousands of terrorists like a moth to a flame, it's pretty obvious that it would also have the effect of drawing lots of other people to the cause. According to the "flypaper" hypothesis, the fact that the presence of US troops in the Arabian peninsula during the 1990's drew attacks there should have made us all feel much safer, right? Wrong.

Second, even if one accepts the dubious proposition that encouraging terrorism in Iraq could be a useful diversionary tactic, pretty much everybody hopes that postwar Iraq can become stable, recover socially and economically, and become a force for positive change in the region. Turning the country into a terror hotbed would substantially undermine this (already uncertain) possibility, and would clearly undermine long term US interests as well.

And third, even if one believed in the overall effectiveness of the "flypaper strategy," it'd still be immoral. The main costs of terror attacks in Iraq will be borne by innocent Iraqis -partly in terms of direct casualties from the attacks, but more importantly because of the severe humanitarian and economic consequences that would result from continued or worsened violent instability. We're supposed to approve of a strategy that involves sacrificing innocent people as bait, just because they're foreigners?

As far as I can tell, the fact that this strange idea has attracted any credence at all simply shows the ridiculous extremes to which some people will go to avoid accepting the possibility that the president might have said something dumb.

posted by: Nick on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

The Flypaper theory is the silliest goddamn thing I've heard in a long time.

More like a "sitting duck" theory to me, ala Beriuit.

posted by: uh_clem on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Michael B.

We are not the only ones on earth who are dependent on oil. If we stop using oil, the Middle East won't shrivel up and die. About 14% of our oil comes from the middle east, overwhelmingly Saudi Arabia. Mexico and Canada are our top oil suppliers at 8% and 11% respectively. We import about 67% of our oil. We produce the rest. The reason the United States doesn't dump money into Fuel Cells is because they are not feasible yet or efficient enough to warrant the cost increase for consumers. Oil dependency is a global affliction. However, I would like to stop buying oil from the Middle East and giving then billions of dollars in aid that is never repaid. Let them eat the sand they s**t in. I like to back up my talk with proof or at the very least, some documentation. So, here you go.

posted by: Melissa on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Current events tend to make Osama Bin Laden the Pan-Islamist hero, beyond Nasser's wildest dreams. Now, with the UN and Jordanian bombings, Al Qaeda (for it apparently is Al Qaeda) can claim to be the great resistance leaders in a much broader, nationalistic, resistance movement to evict the foreign aggressor.

Bush, Austin Bay and PNAC have blundered due to their arrogance and disregard for basic American, moral and historical principles. Quick action against Al Qaeda, and the capture of Osama, can at least deny the victory to the worst of terrorists.

The chaos of Iraq makes it a perfect playground for anyone-foreign powers like Iran and Syria, and even NATO ally Turkey; or terror organizations; or arms merchants; or smugglers. It is too optimistic to assume it will go on this way, it will certainly get worse, with wider war before the end of 2004.

Bush can hope and pray he can keep the lid on things long enough for reelection. After that, assuming he wins, he will invoke a draft. There is no other way out for him. But that will only delay the inevitable outcome. Nationalists fighting Imperialists eventually prevail.

posted by: James P on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

The flypaper theory sounds like justification by myth construction, like the WMDs and the Al-Qaeda link. Surely the spiral into chaos that is Afganistan offers ample opportunity and more promise to "outsiders",however, that's just not discussed.

Clearly we are the ones stuck; unable to respond to new threats, real or imagined: N. Korea, Indonesia, Colombia, Libera, social security or medical assistance.

posted by: Jerry L. on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Re "First Arabic democratic state"

CIA Factbook: Lebanon

Lebanon has made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions since 1991 and the end of the devastating 16-year civil war. Under the Ta'if Accord - the blueprint for national reconciliation - the Lebanese have established a more equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater say in the political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in the government. Since the end of the war, the Lebanese have conducted several successful elections, most of the militias have been weakened or disbanded, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have extended central government authority over about two-thirds of the country. Hizballah, the radical Shi'a party, retains its weapons. Syria maintains about 16,000 troops in Lebanon, based mainly east of Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley. Syria's troop deployment was legitimized by the Arab League during Lebanon's civil war and in the Ta'if Accord. Damascus justifies its continued military presence in Lebanon by citing Beirut's requests and the failure of the Lebanese Government to implement all of the constitutional reforms in the Ta'if Accord. Israel's withdrawal from its security zone in southern Lebanon in May 2000, however, has emboldened some Lebanese Christians and Druze to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well.

posted by: p on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

The "flypaper" theory is hilarious, a textbook example of how prowars have become almost deliriously cultish in their support for Bush.

It is, without exception, the single most preposterous theory ever uttered by an Iraqi prowar for anything--and that's saying a lot.

The above statement was posted Thursday evening at 7:38 p.m. and so cannot account for even more absurd theories emerging even now from the Pentagon briefing room at FoxNewspeak.

posted by: mike on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]


I don't see why you bother with the troll horde. They have deep political and psychological needs to believe that the Bush Administration is simultaniously incompetent with American power abroad and competently evil at amassing and using power at home.

As for Syria versus Iran, Islamic tyrannies have a broader base of support than secular ones. The Iranian mullahs demonstated during July 9th that they have the ability to exercise effective control over their regime security forces when most in the blogosphere thought that they lacked it.

Syria will be the lower hanging fruit because its armed forces have been corrupted by the Lebanese drug smuggling trade for decades and because Syria has killed or exported its Islamic crazies, the latter living ones being Palestinian "refugees."

The longer and harder the Iranian Mullah's fight, the more likely the post-mullah Iran will be a Constitutionally Secular Republic. That more secular future is in America's interest.

Iran's nuclear WMD program is not the threat that North Korea's is because there is no Seoul held hostage against American heavy bomber strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. What are the Mullah's going to do in response to an American attack that they are not doing already? Terrorism? Declare war? With the American Army on two borders?

No, Syria will go after Iraq because 1) it's demise will be easier to arrange; 2) it will do more to deny terrorists access to a sanctuary next to Israel; 3) it will deny them the support of an effective state intelligence service; and 4) it will draw Hezbollah out into the open devoid of Iranian support or sanctuary.

posted by: Trent Telenko on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]


Your (2), (3) & (4) make sense. I hadn't thought of those.

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

If you're going to pick a fight, you want to pick a fight that will have decisive results. That won't happen with the Islamicist terrorists in Iraq. Suppose we kill a few hundred of them. Will this end al Qaeda? Nope. To do that you need to get the governments of the nations they come from to crack down, ie have the Saudi government arrest them en masse, or assist a pro-western government in Iran.

And the way to get _that_ to happen is to rapidly pacify Iraq so we can get on with the rest. An indecisive fight with the Islamicists in Iraq doesn't further that goal.

posted by: blofeld on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

What bothers me is that most of the "flypaper" proponents seem pretty complacent about the troop levels in Iraq right now. I don't hear many of them calling for the administration to send the numbers Shinseki claimed were required and/or get more international involvement so that our troops can focus more on offense.

It seems to be a pretty cavalier attitude toward our soldiers.

posted by: Bill Herbert on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

>It seems to be a pretty cavalier attitude toward our soldiers.

I find people who have this "solicitous" attitude toward our servicemen have a very cavalier attitude toward American civilians. The point of the war is to protect the American homeland from further terrorist attacks. It is far better that American soldiers in the Middle East, in full "battle rattle," are the subject of terrorist attacks than civilians, police and firemen in our major cities.

This is what Barak, the "Israeli Peace General" and Labour Prime Minister, forgot in his bug out from Lebanon. His retreat from Hezbollah suicide bombers there made suicide bombers in side Israeli territory inevitable.

It is a mistake the Bush Administration will not repeat.

And this is a mistake the Democrats will be killed for in 2004 just as they were on 2002.

posted by: Trent Telenko on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

I support global terror. It's good for the poll ratings.

posted by: President Bush on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Donald Rumsfeld's war objectives, as of March 21, included (third of eight):

"to search for, capture, drive out terrorists who have found safe harbor in Iraq."

I understand that no plan survives contact with the enemy, but surely some objectives do.

So, would flypaper devotees care to explain whether Rumsfeld was lying then? Or have our objectives quietly changed, and why have the American people not been told?

Or, have we been told? I haven't checked every transcript of every Sunday talk show.

I don't think "strategic deception" will be persuasive, BTW. I'm only guessing, but I doubt that a few words from Rumsfeld to Russert explaining that the Administration views this influx of terrorists as a golden opportunity would prompt the jihadist equivalent of "D'oh", followed by a rapid retreat by same.

posted by: Tom Maguire on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

By what bizarre calculus is it "solicitous" to want to give our troops ample support to get the job done right? Were the generals who requested the armor for TF Ranger in Somalia being solicitous? Full battle rattle doesn't make much of a difference if you're going to play to the strengths of the enemy by allowing a war of attrition to continue.

Trying to frame the debate in the terms you've mentioned -- i.e., a choice between our troops being subjected to attacks or our civilians here at home being subjected to them -- is a lame, high school debater's tactic.

If we have an insufficient force size in Iraq, we still end up fighting on the enemy's terms, even if it is on their field. I would rather fight it on our terms -- with the people who now have the confidence to pull off these attacks running for their lives instead.

You seem to have me confused with some anti-war nut. I support this action fully, but cannot understand the administration's obstinance in getting assistance to lighten the load on our troops, all in the name of pride.

posted by: Bill Herbert on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

I submit that no one planned a 'flypaper strategy'. Like Topsy it 'jest growed'. One of the things it 'jest growed' out of was Turkey's sudden change to where we could not bring the Fourth ID from the north, allowing many of the most hard core Baathists, Saddam Fedeyeen, Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard types to escape. These provided the initial nucleus for the Jihadis and splodeydopes from all over the Islamic world to coalesce around.
Unfortunately we couldn't have the forces we'd built up to come from the south just sit there while we came up with another way to bring the fourth Mech into action from the north, you can't keep troops cooped up like that and still maintain their fighting edge. That, plus the vulnerability of masses of troops in a small area, forced us to go with half the plan.
Now we're there. We just have to do the best we can, to pull out would be catastrophic.
In contrast to some of the folks commenting, I do believe that there is a finite number of Jihadis and slodeydopes. I believe we're killing them faster than they can be replaced. I just know that we've got infantry and sneaky Petes ambushing the infiltration routes. I believe that a lot of Jihadis are being buried in unmarkewd graves, far from the prying eyes of the news media. Call it the 'where's Achmed?' strategy.
It's damned lucky that a lot of these commenters weren't around in 1942, all Europe would be speaking German, all of the Pacific, Japanese. War was declared on us by a large portion of the more than a billion Muslims. We have a choice, take the war to them or sit around with our collective thumb up our collective ass and wait to be killed.

posted by: Peter on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

I agree with Tom. The goal was and is

"to search for, capture, drive out terrorists who have found safe harbor in Iraq."

And, a stable, peace-loving, capitalistic, democratic Iraq is the best long-term solution for the USA.

As for the idea that we are losing the war by attrition, are the people making this case crazy, or just bad at math. Less than 200 American soldiers killed with a deployment of 250,000 troops is hardly catastrophic. And the noose seems to be tightening every day.

I'm just a simple citizen, but any reasonable assessment of the situation on the ground in Iraq leads to the following intermediate conclusions:

1) An evil despot has been deposed.

2) Those who were part of his government, and hence subject to recriminations by the Iraqi population are in a desparate fight for their lives.

3) The overwhelming American victory has demoralized and fractured the resistance.

4) The US Army is proving day-by-day that they are better than Saddam's henchmen - because of their simple human decency to ordinary people.

5) We are rounding up more and more leaders of the resistance, and it must inevitably collapse.

I think the main gripe left wing types in America and Europe have is based on their view of the proper role of government. Leftists prefer a top-down centrally planned approach to government with one-size-fits-all solutions to ensure "fairness."

On the other hand, America was founded upon the self-determination principles which started with local government being given the higher priority and authority, then local governments sharing limited power with regional and national governments.

Further investigation into current events in Iraq shows that the second approach to government is the one being implemented. Leftists decry the failure to immediately establish national democracy. But local democracy is where individual citizens learn to accept responsibility for their lives and their futures.

Once this lesson is learned and internalized by simple citizens, stable regional and national governments can be formed democratically with less risk for establishing tyranny.

Lest anyone forget their history, after the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, local governments held power for 5 years before a national Constitution was created and ratified, and a President did not take office until 1789. If it took our founding fathers 5 years to work things out, how can we be so impatient with Iraq?

posted by: Scott Harris on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Let's forget whether or not flypaper was a post-facto rationalization. Let's accept that it's better to have terrorist acts occur overseas, in the presence of forces that can mount a credible defense than domestically. OK, then. In coldly economic terms, what's been our return on investment? We hear about how this or that playing card got captured or killed. Even supposing strong ties between the many faces of Hoyle and non-state terrorists, those aren't the front-line Hezbollah/Al-Qaeda/other Islamist scary organization combatants doing the actual fulminating. Why are Rummy, et. al., so reticent with the actual numbers of terrorist casualties or captures? If we're delivering substantial kicking of tuches, why not trumpet those numbers to everyone with functional ears? At the very least, it would give those of us at home some concrete measure of that for which our men and women are dying. It would certainly soften the blow to know that X thousands of people next to you on the subway/bus/airplane won't explode, in exchange for those 200-plus American lives. Do the flypaper advocates believe telling us those numbers would stanch the flow of terrorist targets? Or are the numbers that bad, compared to the lives we're losing?

posted by: Sledge Poteet on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

what amazes me is how ya'll neocons and neocon wannabes think there is any anti-terrorism reason for this "liberation" of iraq.

there are two and only two reasons why there are american soldiers dying in iraq today [and subsequently, why there were americans dying in wtc, and will die in the next attack].

1.) control of iraq..this can be in the form of a puppet govt, or out and out, naked US occupation

2.) control of the vast oil reserves in iraq.

the next stop of this admin will be in south america..for venezula's oil...or columbia drug money...the saudi gov is already sucking bush's c-k, so bush doesnt need to attack saudi arabia [yes it is true that saudi arabia is BY FAR the most anti-american nation in the world but that means little on W]

where is terrorism actually growing, and where SHOULD the war be? i vote with someone who said saudi arabia..definitely need to look there..but the other real concern is the afgani/pakistani border..and pakistan itself...but bush would never go there..b/c that means actually destroying terrorism [which he appears, with his efforts thus far, he does not what do to]...

bush didnt fight much in afganistan b/c opposing the taliban is like opposing pakistan [the taliban's main supporter is pakistan]..but guess who is opposing the taliban? ah..the north alliance..and...RUSSIA..and we wont want to make friends with russia now would we?

its all boils down to the same thing..the USA is after money, and against communism...thing is, its Bush and VERY close friends who get benefits, and all of us who pay the price [inc risk of dying from terrorism, inc tax payer bill, inc military men dead] i when i say usa is after money, i mean BUSH is...not the rest of the right-minded, trying to do the best thing here in america..

on last point sen. biden already said we need to inc troops in iraq--so the poster that said the dems want to dec troops in iraq is..ah..either lying, stupid, or just misinformed..maybe all 3..

Hasta Luego,

Karl F. Rove

posted by: Karl "Flypaper" Rove on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Karl, Karl, Karl,

Your grammer is horrible man. Calm down. Liberals always say we are after oil and money. If that is the case, read my above comments regarding oil import. If we wanted to have more oil, we could take over Mexico and Canada. They are a lot closer. As far as money goes, we will get the short end of the stick on this one my friend. We aren't handing a bill to Saddam, however, I am willing to pay more taxes to give Iraqi children the opportunity to grow up in a peaceful, democratic society. Did you watch the 3 hour inspection of the water treatment facilities and powerplants in Iraq? I did. They are stripped to the bare walls(and then some). They have been so for years. Many engineers at my work were asked if they wanted to go to Iraq and work with the Iraqi engineers to help rebuild or build in most cases. The conditions I saw will mean at least 1 to 2 years of strict schedule building to give the Iraqis what they need. Of course, sabbotage will have to end or that timetable gets extended. As far as Saudi Arabia goes, I agree, to an extent. It isn't just Bush there blowing, they blow everybody and they blew Clinton too. You need to read more information from more than a few sources, go as broad as you can. That is what is so great about America, I can get information, if I want it.

posted by: Melissa on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

Raise gas taxes! Really. Nobody likes it, everybody "suffers", but it makes ALL alternatives to SUVs relatively better, not just fuel cells but bikes, buses, etc.
Mostly more fuel efficient cars.
And keep raising them, every month there are American soldiers in the MidEast.

Whether flypaper was designed, or not, it's happening.

The OTHER thing that might be happening is a crack down on Iraqi women, and especially professional women. There needs to be a lot more jobs, soon, for all Iraqi men. Or else they will be subject to supportive pressure by the foreign terrorists, who may be more rapidly setting up Sharia-ist groups than anti-American terror cells. (Baghdad Burning, Where is Raed?)

posted by: Tom Grey on 08.21.03 at 11:44 AM [permalink]

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