Thursday, July 07, 2005

Flypaper theory (among other things)

The flypaper theory is dead and buried. The idea that going to war in Iraq would prevent attacks in the west is going to hold precious little currency now. This is important: it isn't stated much, but this is a fundamental justification for the Iraq war as a component of the WoT.

Also, the CIA/NSA/MI:5/MI:6 agencies are going to endure serious criticism and critiques. Make no mistake: if the Americans had an inkling, the Brits would have known, and thus there's no doubt that the Americans didn't know either. This was an intelligence failure and a big one, and it was under the watch of Bush and Blair's intel services. I would not be surprised if the attacks are levelled at those within the agencies who aren't "playing ball"- certainly that's the way it's worked to date- but then again, this is different than the 9/11 or Iraq failures, as it speaks to a core foreign policy goal of the Bush administration and Blair government.

Blair's going to be a target too- not only because it was his watch, but because there's going to be an undercurrent of belief that this has to do with the U.K.'s visible and open support of the U.S. A weak PM is going to be much, much weaker, unless a "rally 'round the flag" effect builds him up. I've never got the impression the UK worked that way- a PM isn't a president.

Not sure whether the UK is going to start having domestic turbulence. A LOT depends on how official Britain handles this, and it looks like they're try to prevent anti-Islamic reprisals (and, in turn, "defensive" acts by frightened British Muslims.) The calm public reaction would seem to imply otherwise as well.

Finally, my support and sympathy to those affected by the bombings and Londoners in general. I hadn't mentioned that before, but rest assured of it.


  1. Anonymous2:07 AM

    I'm not a big fan of the flypaper theory on a tactical level, which is to say terrorist-by-terrorist. On a tactical level, I don't think it was part of the plan.

    On a strategic level, that is, "taking the fight to the terrorists", it remains valid and indeed was part of the overall plan.

    But either way, it's not an all-or-nothing affair. Just because a few failed to get "stuck" in the Islamic world and struck in the West instead doesn't mean that there's nothing to the idea. A 100% success rate is too high a bar after all. And I don't recall anyone claiming it would meet that bar. Bit of a strawman argument on your part.

    For those who think that the WoT is really a civil war within Islam, it makes perfect sense to insist that it be fought mainly over there. It makes sense if you don't think so too.

  2. (Have I ever told you that your loyalty is touching, Brian? Someday I'm going to figure out why you're the only one who hangs about, these days.)

    Anyway, the "civil war within Islam" argument is deeply flawed, in that it's coupled with the "we can't accept Islam unless it's message is to our liking" argument that is NOT going to impress any Muslim, radical or no.

    That we'd like to believe that moderate Muslims are going to "stamp out" the radicals is clear; that such a thing would be no more successful than trying to stamp out extremist members of other religions (including Abrahamic ones) is also clear.

    As for the question of 100%? The problem is resources- Iraq is soaking up a ton of American and British resources. If the flypaper theory isn't demonstrably effective, then it should be abandoned, or else we run the risk of Bush purchasing a anti-tiger rock from Lisa Simpson. That these attacks happened showed that, to at least some extent, the flypaper theory is ineffective.

    Since it was a tortuous argument anyway (since when do cell structured organizations behave this way?) the proof HAD to be in the pudding. If it's not effective and the theory is dubious, it should be tossed out.

  3. Anyway, the "civil war within Islam" argument is deeply flawed, in that it's coupled with the "we can't accept Islam unless it's message is to our liking" argument that is NOT going to impress any Muslim, radical or no.

    Ahh, thanks D, for that smorgasbord of pathology that is the left's position.

    Is an Islam that's "to our liking" automatically suspect because we like it or because it's not incompatible with Western ideals? Basically you're saying that moderate Muslims are Uncle Toms because they espouse a view of Islam that "is to our liking". You're not considering that these Islamic bastards might just think, of their own volition, that hewing to a moderate Islam is the best way of going about their business.

    Plenty of Muslims see a civil war within Islam and don't consider the West to be a pivotal factor. Why would Western opinion necessarily have to be on the wrong side (or indicate which side was wrong)?

    Stepping out of the multi-culti mindset for the moment, what's wrong with the West choosing a side in this battle in the first place? We have legitimate interests. We should make common cause with those who share those interests. Have you gone so far to the other side that you believe that anyone who shares and promotes Western ideals is wrong or suspect in some way? Moderate Muslims are now unimpressive? From a Muslim perspective your position is considered extreme. From a Western perspective, you're deluded and perhaps a bit suicidal. Is nothing in Western culture worth any defense?

  4. "Uncle tom"? This is ludicrous. It's about one religion trying to guide the development of another. Needless to say, it doesn't work.

    That is entirely different than saying that one would prefer a moderate Islam.