Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Scraping Flypaper Over An Open Sore

I leave the blogosphere for awhile and all hell breaks loose. The latest scandal going the blogger rounds is the "flypaper" strategy. Let me explain why this is such a crock...

Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations, are not stupid. They have outsmarted us on a number of occasions. It is safe to assume, from our reaction after the 9/11 tragedy, that we are not racking up more victories over them. Thus, we go public with our efforts to defeat them, pushing aside the wise adage not to give legitimacy to terrorist groups. Yes, you can't ignore the 9/11 tragedy, but you don't have to declare war on terror either.

That aside, let's stay on focus. Flypaper. The idea is that we will lure all of the terrorists into Iraq, where we will be able to engage them with full firepower. If they were stupid. Unfortunately, they're not. Yes, we have stirred up a hornet's nest over there, and certainly there are more terrorists today than there were pre-9/11, but as far as we know terrorists are not our scourge in Iraq, it is Iraqi resisters of various varieties. There may be some terrorists over there, but nothing substantial.

Rather, as overextended as we are militarily, and with North Korea rattling up tensions, the terrorists, including AQ, are probably extending their operations, the idea being that they can cause us trouble all over the globe, and make us do something about it. They can start cutting deals with other resistance forces, and taking matters into their own hands, in their strategy to disrupt key economic flows, like oil pipelines. Thus, wherever there are oil pipelines, or other such key economic infrastructure, we will be forced to defend it, to provide security, which raises uncertainty and costs a lot of money.

There is no reason to believe the flypaper bit at all. Why would the terrorists flock en masse into Iraq? Exclusively? It may be one site among many, and certainly an attractive target for economic disruption, but only one among many. As always, their strategy likely continues to be global in scope, with quick hit-and-run missions with small cadres of operatives. Such a strategy is not flypaper but liquid, as is readily acknowledged by the real planners and strategists of the West. Sending in Special Forces after the fact won't help. Only intelligence, and global cooperation, will.

Iraq should not be the center of the war against terrorism. It never should have been. It was a secular, Arab nationalist state, and not even remotely linked to the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Having the same enemies does not ipso facto mean cooperation, especially when the two so-called allies consider each other enemies, though perhaps enemies of a different magnitude.

The only reason Iraq is the center of the war on terrorism is because we desperately want it to be so. We've spent all of this money, and essentially for nothing as far as fighting Al Qaeda and other terrorists goes. It was the Project For A New American Century all along, and eventually this will be acknowledged by the administration's defenders, such as the Wall Street Journal, which is almost to that point already of disavowing the publicized reasons in favor of the actual reasons, and explaining it away by postulating a need for misdirection in order to win support for the war.

When this happens, the American people should stand up, and make the administration, and their defenders, walk on flypaper. Barefoot. Heated to 120 degrees. Why? They deceived everyone, spent billions of dollars rushing into a war that didn't have to happen yet, if at all, and have lined the pockets of the corporations they previously worked for (whether it's about that or not doesn't matter, the facts speak for themselves). It's time for a full accounting, so that this nation can get back on track, regain faith in global relations and the economy, and reinvigorate the war on terrorism.