Monday, August 22, 2005

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch....

....the logs get chopped, the brush gets cleared, and the flypaper gets a fresh coat of stickiness. A sampling of gems from the president's weekly radio address:
In a few weeks, our country will mark the four-year anniversary of the attacks of September the 11th, 2001. On that day, we learned that vast oceans and friendly neighbors no longer protect us from those who wish to harm our people. And since that day, we have taken the fight to the enemy.

We're fighting the terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, striking them in foreign lands before they can attack us here at home.

Our troops know that they're fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to protect their fellow Americans from a savage enemy. They know that if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets, and they know that the safety and security of every American is at stake in this war, and they know we will prevail.
Let's think about this for a minute. Bush states that "vast oceans and friendly neighbors no longer protect us from those who wish to harm our people." And I agree with him. Yet at the same time, he posits that "if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets." Thus an essential element of the flypaper thesis is geographical distance; it assumes that those "vast oceans" must in some way protect us, or expending massive amounts of blood and treasure "fighting them over there" would make no sense since "over there" essentially would be "here." Of course, London---as well as Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, and Bali---showed flypaper to be both specious as an argument and ineffective as a strategy.

But the overt use of a sovereign nation as flypaper is morally bankrupt as well; its proponents should have to look at this photograph every night before going to bed. This will likely cause us a variety of blowback-related problems for years to come, as I explain here. This is why Bush must stop publicly invoking the flypaper sham right now. By continuing to use it he shows that he is both desperate and out of ideas, and thus willing to sacrifice national security for political expediency.


Blogger SherAn said...


8/21/2005 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What drugs is Bush taking now? It sounds like he is hallucinating.

8/22/2005 12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Bush or the war supporters really care whether the things Bush says (e.g. the "flypaper strategy") actually make logical sense or not. Nothing matters except: we got hit on Sept. 11, 2001, and therefore we have to hit people back. It doesn't matter if we hit the actual perpetrators, it doesn't matter if we make more enemies and create more terrorists and spread chaos throughout the world. We just have to hit somebody. Because if we don't, then we look like wimps... and, (if the war supporters bother to take the chain of logic any farther than that), if the U.S. looks like a wimp, then we are abdicating moral authority, letting the evildoers get away with it, inviting more evil, coddling evil, condoning evil, etc. That is the chain of "reasoning" (I use the word loosely) which leads them to conclude that anyone who doesn't support the bombing of large numbers of innocent people in Iraq is really a traitor who wishes America to be destroyed.

So you see, it's not so much that "flypaper" is a legitimate strategy of any kind. When Bush says, "We're fighting the terrorists abroad // so that we don't fight them at home," his supporters start cheering at the first half of the sentence, and don't care what the hell he's talking about in the second half of the sentence.

Once the flypaper strategy "stops working" (again I use the term loosely, since it isn't really a strategy to begin with, more truthfully it's just a pleasant co-incidence that they haven't succeeded in another terror strike on U.S. soil)... once we get hit again on the home front... Will that mean a retreat from the "flypaper" strategy, will that mean we should stop fighting in Iraq? No, no, of course not. If we do get hit again on U.S. soil, that just means we have to fight _harder_ in Iraq.

8/22/2005 4:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're missing the overall context of Bush's remarks, which is: "9/11 taught us that we need to elect republicans to push for war overseas so we can have tax cuts, bankruptcy reform, tort reform, subsidies to energy companies, religion taught in the schools, and the abolishment of social security here at home. Never forget the lesson of 9/11"

8/22/2005 8:31 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

That sham, in many ways, is all he's got. Absolutely a wonderful point about the moral bankruptcy of fighting 'over there' to keep us safe. That was one aspect that a vet. friend of mine said from the word 'go', and it is troubling. Might I suggest this, from today's Guardian. It appears that Haditha is a Sunni enclave.

8/22/2005 9:58 AM  
Anonymous betsy said...

What Bush is really saying is that as long as Arabs are the ones being killed we should all just relax. This is the same morally bankrupt position taken by Americans who don't care about black inner city kids as long as they only kill other black inner city kids. The Baghdad morgue had over 1000 people killed from gun shot wounds last month!!! We are way beyond moral bankruptcy here.

8/22/2005 10:22 AM  
Anonymous jeremy said...

I think there are two points here:
1) the justification for war and its continuance are clearly weak and desperate; designed to obsfucate rather than clarify
2) there are genuine strategic reasons for the US to remain the region and the Bushies don't want to be honest and level with people. The reality of cousrse is that the US does not have the treasure and blood required to stay

War as a general rule is immoral, this one more than most. But sooner or later even those that want the US to stay in the region for treasure and influence are going to have to admit they are going backwards.

8/22/2005 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"he is both desperate and out of ideas, and thus willing to sacrifice national security for political expediency."

He has always been "out of ideas." And he has always been "willing to sacrifice national security for political expediency." 9/11 was always just the excuse to go after Saddam, either for oil, or as a neo-con wet dream, or simply as payback for Saddam for trying to kill Bush senior.

8/22/2005 11:59 AM  
Blogger Roy said...

It seems to me that you all think as long as Arabs kill Arabs then that is fine. Pay no mind to the women being treated worse then animals not to mention the gay Middle Easterners. You want to hide in the closet with your hands over your eyes while people are being brutalized and then act like that is the moral high ground. Everyone on this planet deserves a certain amount of rights not just Americans. It is not a flypaper theory but rather a battle to reconnect the Middle East, Africa and Asia to the 21st century. America is in the position to help, the use of the pictures is an attempt to make people use their emotions not reason. But I guess it is much more moral to let the black and brown foreigners kill and brutalize each other after all it is not our problem.

8/22/2005 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess this is what you get when a party, in this case the Republican party, controls all branches of the government - scandals, scandals, scandals... The Republican party has taken our politics into the gutter.

A Summer of Scandal for U.S. Politicians

8/22/2005 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Battlepanda said...

Your attempt to paint the war in Iraq as some kind of shining humanitarian mission to free women and give gays rights is particularly lame given the recent news that the Iraqi consitution seems to be heading towards a theocratic republic in which Sharia is the foundation for all law. Or to put it another way, we are building a nation where the right to subjugate women and persecute gays are not just tolerated, but codified. What a great cause to expend our blood and treasure. Which country should we attempt to brutalize into modernity next?

8/22/2005 1:46 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

I dont believe that Iraq will be magically transformed into a liberal democracy overnght. What I do believe is that we have a chance to reconnect them with the outside world via trade and free flowing information. This will lead them towards womens rights, gay rights and human rights. Look at China, they are becoming more and more free and respectable, although they still have a long way to go. Once women and minorities begin contributing to the economy they will inevitably gain more rights because they are important. Such as China passing sexual harrasment laws. But maybe we should just pretend that the bad situations around the world which we helped create are not are problem after all us brown and black people aren't cut out for civilized life.

8/22/2005 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'It seems to me that you all think as long as Arabs kill Arabs then that is fine... women and chidren..'

I like how Russell Simmons describes race - 'I don't see race, I see culture'. Fo shizzle! I see people.

It seems to me that it was General Franks that said 'we don't do body counts'.

So the Bush's plan is to create World Peace by starting preemptive world wars, reigniting the nuclear arms movement, and to heck with culture, the people, the history. All the while giving tax breaks, running up huge deficients, and abusing the stop/loss of the volunteer army.

Remember we were sold, time and time again, that the war in Iraq was because we were in imminent danger - WMD. And the one reason they gave us for the war they ignored, not to mentioned we didn't have enough resources on the ground to secure the peace. The only building we covered was the Oil Ministry. If you care about people the hospitals, schools, civic buildings would have been covered. I clearly remember seeing Powell and Bush at the UN saying just it was all about WMD. Bush said all options were open, when in reality he was already preparing for war. I don't think you joke about sending people to war and WMD if you care. I don't think you leak CIA operative names if you care. Obviously the Bush administration doesn't believe in human rights matter because they, themselves, said it was WMD, but of course who knows what they mean because they lie and create more propaganda; they will say or do anything to get what they want. The "want" is what we don't know. I think if you care, you send someone to war with the truth! There are a dozen other places, and it just so happens he picks the place with untapped oil reserves. You also can't discount our other international relationships, like Rumsfeld in the mid-80's and Iraq. We really liked Saddam then. We supported Iraq, when we didn't like Iran. Heck we even trained Bin Laden when we didn't like Russian in Afghanistan. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bush Family and Carlyle still do. In fact we support a lot of governments that are less than tolerant to their people.

For many it is not the what, but the how: I don't think you use dirty or cluster bombs if you care. I don't think you torture (Abu Ghraib) or get rid of justice (Gitmo) if you care. I don't think you fire Generals or attack others if they are telling you, you need more troops, more money, more protective gear, more supplies, if you care. I think you read and listen carefully to others because you are putting our own son's, daughters, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, etc lives on the line. There are just so many more examples, where they say one thing and do another that just doesn't jibe with caring about humanity.

And sometimes we can Win Without War and creating and training more terrorists.

This is satirical list, but there is a sad truth to many.

8/22/2005 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Battlepanda said...

Look at China? We didn't invade China. What the hell is your point? Look, Roy. If we want to have any kind of a productive dialog we need to be talking about the same war. The war which the Bushies sold as a counter-terrorism war. The war in which we have empowered the Islamists. The war in which Iraq's infrastructure is totalled. The war that flattened Fallujah. The war which caused there to be more than 1000 bodies in the Bagdad morgue right now.

Not the war of trade encouragement and rights for everybody which only seems to exist in your head.

8/22/2005 4:06 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

I love the way everyone says the war was only about WMD's and imment danger. That is the only thing people focused on. The name of the mission was Iraqi Freedom, but I am sure that was only a front. I am well aware that we did not invade China just as we won't invade each country in this global war against extremism (lol).But where have you been if you dont think this is about spreading free markets and democracy? Have you heard of the term neo-con? Paul Wolfowitz, Thomas Barnett? Dont kid yourself this war is about transforming the Middle East, or have you forgot that Bush lied about the WMD's. If he lied about the WMD's then that could not have been the reason for the war could it?

8/22/2005 4:34 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

So I guess Iraqi Freedom means Freedom for the Iraqis to put in an Islamofascist government. $600 billion dollars and thousands of dead and crippled Americans (leaving aside the cost to Iraqis, since, of course, it was for their good) so that Iraqi women can lose the rights they enjoyed for 30 years; so that Islam becomes the law of the land.

8/22/2005 4:50 PM  
Blogger Mister Hand said...

The little girl in the photo = future terrorist, courtesy of the good old U.S. of A.

Don't mess with Texas!

Bush is such an enormous dick. I am amazed that every day I hate him just a little more. I can't believe I have such a capacity for hate.

8/22/2005 5:57 PM  
Anonymous ewk said...

Once women and minorities begin contributing to the economy they will inevitably gain more rights because they are important

Roy if you want to have a rationale debate you need to start with reality. In Iraq as evil as Sadaam was, repression of women was nonexistent, women there had greater freedom than anywhere in the middle east, they were able to go to school and hold any profession, they had total equality with men.

The new Iraqi Constitution is a huge step backwards.

8/22/2005 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Marie Antoinette said...

Radio address? Who does he think he is, FDR?

(well, except that instead of telling people "There's nothing to fear but fear itself," Bush's line is "There's nothing to fear but not having enough nukes.")

8/22/2005 6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice post TCR, I've been thinking about this issue as well since you first wrote about it a few months ago.

8/22/2005 6:57 PM  
Anonymous TuiMel said...

Once again, it is so important to keep making the point that the "fight 'em there, so we don't have to fight 'em here" philosophy is morally insupportable - bankrupt.

You know things are bad in Bush Land when he trots out 09/11 to justify "staying the course" in Iraq. It is almost like they have a single Power Point presentation and just keep recyling the slides. Trouble is, many people will recognize that this particular rationale has been debunked and then abandoned by the administration. Bush insults the public by bringing out this hobby horse again - without so much as a new coat of paint. But, to be Kool Aid free in these times is to have one's intelligence insulted every day. It is as constant as the rising and setting of the sun - it doesn't happen at exactly the same time each day but I know it will happen just the same.

8/22/2005 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'The name of the mission was Iraqi Freedom' and it was also "Shock and Awe". Both are simply marketing propaganda message tools; like they say, read the details before you sign.

To be truthful the reason for the war changed according to the public opinion polls.

8/23/2005 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about anybody else, but I read this TCR everyday - and I really don't know if I should laugh or cry. Why am I confused? Because our President is making the greatest Country in the World look and act like a snake tongued idiot - so yes, his antics and actions are funny, yet this is the USA, not Canada for God's sake, and when we sneeze, the world catches pneumonia. So I cry for the carnage that this administration is leaving future generations to mend. The list of problem areas is enormous, political discord, international relations, human suffering, national acts of agression, growth of terrorism, Middle East instability, world slave labor, US underemployment, the export and distruction of US manufacturing and livable wages, US and World environmental resource conservation and protection... and on and on. Please tell me what this administration has united us on? And don't say the War effort, because this President squandered that goodwill a long time ago.

8/23/2005 10:41 AM  
Blogger owenz said...

To his supporters, the president’s actual words longer matter. Even among neocons, few conservatives put much credence in the "flypaper theory" anymore. They understand it to be a sham...a stock idea that Bush returns to again and again, not unlike his constant chatter about "freedom" in the Middle East. It comes from the same well of endlessly optimistic spin that makes Bush supporters swoon with the notion that dear leader is moved only by pure desires and unshakeable convictions. The farther he gets from reality, the more beatific the leader’s “vision” becomes.

On paper, I suspect Bush's foreign policy has almost no popular support. The 38% of Americans who approve worship his persona, not his policies. Ironically, his image as a man of vision is buoyed by empty platitudes like the flypaper theory and the endless freedom chatter. It allows Bush to stay "above the fray," away from the nasty details on the ground. It gives him an almost angelic take on things. Like his Mom, his beautiful mind is unburdened by body bags. He’s too busy talking to God.

As things get worse and worse in Iraq, Bush's rhetoric will get more and more abstract. We'll see a steady increase in religious-themed spin out of him...we are doing morally necessary work, those who perish have sacrificed themselves for the ultimate cause, withdrawal would be a surrender to the dark forces, etc.

Until we pull out, of course. Then he'll declare victory and that will be it. Sadly, a confused American will probably scratch its head for a minute or two and agree with him.

8/23/2005 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you get a chance read Sean Penn's articles on his vist to Iran. I trust Penn's BS-meter. There are 5 articles, and so far only 2 have been printed. There is a lot to them. I found the history of the Iran-US relations fascinating. Iran was on its way to a Democracy when Britian asked us to intervene so they could control the oil. We evidentually did.

8/23/2005 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NOWHERE. So long as bush is in office this travisty will continue until the army runs out of bodies. I think that will come much sooner then they will realize.
The only sad thing is that by that time the country will be in such a mess and the splitting asunder of this society will be so deep that I cannot see how we will have a civil society where a "democracy" can really function. But then the GOP is NOT really interested in a democracy, they much prefer a theocracy and they will be surprised just how bloody and destructive it will be.
GOD HELP US ALL, but why should he. I would not in his place. We had it all, well a great deal of it and we just threw it away.

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