Monday, May 30, 2005

Flies? Hell, more like mosquitoes rising from the quagmire

Remember how one of the arguments for going into Iraq was that it formed a "flypaper strategy" (a phrase coined by Andrew Sullivan that he now surely regrets), attracting and concentrating all the terrorists from all over the world into one place, where they could be exterminated once an for all, presumably resulting in a millenarian "End to Evil"?

Well, it turns out that things haven't worked quite out as the Bushies planned. So much so, in fact, that they have now announced a huge strategic flip-flop, motivated by the realization that the old neocon-conceived GWOT, far from concentrating and exterminating terrorists, has instead produced "a new generation of terrorists, schooled in Iraq over the past couple of years."

This article can be read as an obituary the old school neocon GWOTists. Money:

President Bush's top adviser on terrorism, Frances Townsend, said in an interview that the review is needed to take into account the "ripple effect" from years of operations targeting al Qaeda leaders such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, arrested for planning the Sept. 11 attacks, and his recently detained deputy. "Naturally, the enemy has adapted," she said. "As you capture a Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an Abu Faraj al-Libbi raises up. Nature abhors a vacuum."

The review marks the first ambitious effort since the immediate aftermath of the 2001 attacks to take stock of what the administration has called the "global war on terrorism" -- or GWOT -- but is now considering changing to recognize the evolution of its fight. "What we really want now is a strategic approach to defeat violent extremism," said a senior administration official who described the review on the condition of anonymity because it is not finished. "GWOT is catchy, but there may be a better way to describe it, and those are things that ought to be incumbent on us to look at."

"No question this is the next stage, the phase two," another senior counterterrorism
official said....

Top government officials are increasingly turning their attention to anticipate what one called "the bleed out" of hundreds or thousands of Iraq-trained jihadists back to their home countries throughout the Middle East and Western Europe. "It's a new piece of a new equation," a former senior Bush administration official said. "If you don't know who they are in Iraq, how are you going to locate them in Istanbul or London?"

In fact, what's really happened is that Al Qaeda has been largely destroyed, mainly through (wow!) the careful post-Afghan invasion police work that has been done in conjunction with our oh-so-Democratic friends in Pakistan. In the meanwhile, completely separately, we've created a new generation of, largely separate, terrorists, located in Iraq.

Or to put it another way, everything we've done that's actually been effective against Al Qaida in the last three years is the stuff that the Bushies have scoffed at (i.e. policework, coddling dictators), whereas everything they've celebrated (i.e., quixotic efforts to use military might to produce democracy in civil-society-less countries) has been downright counterproductive.

But hey, that policy plays well in Midland, Peoria, and Boise, so who the hell cares? After all, if Bush's policies result in new terrorist strikes against our major cities, it'll mainly mean taking out Democratic voters. Come to think of it, maybe that's an explanation for why DC and New York voted 90% and 70% against Bush, respectively....

No comments: