Flypaper Schmypaper!

Ken AshfordIraq, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

The flypaper theory, which was false and stupid before last week, is now (in light of the London attacks) demonstrably false and stupid.  But that doesn’t stop administration officials from making bone-headed and offensive arguments like this:

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Fran Townsend, the president’s homeland security adviser, said that the war in Iraq attracts terrorists “where we have a fighting military and a coalition that can take them on and not have the sort of civilian casualties that you saw in London."

[Source – emphasis added]

Really?!?  What about this:

BAGHDAD, July 13—A suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. military patrol Wednesday morning in east Baghdad, killing at least 26 people, including many children . . .

This is one of the almost-daily reports coming out of Iraq which, contrary to Ms. Townsend’s statements, DO in fact show “the sort of civilian casualties that you saw in London”.  But clearly, in the eyes of the Bush supporters, the Iraqi civilians (including children) don’t count.  I mean, it’s not like they are, you know, REAL people.

Billmon says more:

It seems there is no pile of dead Iraqi civilians high enough to slow down the propaganda bulldozer. Reason and logic aren’t having much of any effect, either. Via Kevin Drum, I came across this argument from Wretchard, the allegedly Harvard-educated wing nut at The Belmont Club:

It is widely accepted that thousands of Al Qaeda fighters, the cream of their rancid crop, is fighting to expel the American infidel from the Land Between the Rivers. A moment’s reflection will show that if they are there they cannot be elsewhere—in London, Paris, Rome or Boston—sowing bombs on buses and trains.

If that’s what they teach you Harvard, then all I can say is thank God for community colleges. I don’t know how you would even begin to de-program someone capable of believing, with fanatical certainty, two completely contradictory statements: i.e., that because there are terrorists in Iraq, they can’t be in London blowing up the subways—even though they’re in London, blowing up the subways.

Try to imagine the reasoning process needed to take the same set of facts we’re all working from, and wind up with that conclusion:

1.) Our flypaper strategy says it’s better to fight the terrorists in Iraq than have them attacking us in the streets of London.

2.) The terrorists are attacking us in the streets of London.

3.) Our flypaper strategy is working!

Why is it so hard for the conservative mind to grasp such simple realities? The terrorists are in Iraq, and they’re also in London. They’re blowing up American soldiers (and Iraqi civilians), assassinating diplomats and generally committing murder and mayhem in one place, and they’re “sowing bombs on buses and trains” in another place. They can actually do both! At the same time!