So much for the flypaper theory
Remember how the occupation of Iraq was supposed to fight terrorism?
And what [the senior Bush official] said surprised me. If the terrorists leave us alone in Iraq, fine, he said. But if they come and get us, even better. Far more advantageous to fight terror using trained soldiers in Iraq than trying to defend civilians in New York or London. "Think of it as a flytrap," he ventured. Iraq would not simply be a test-case for Muslim democracy; it would be the first stage in a real and aggressive war against the terrorists and their sponsors in Ryadh and Damascus and Tehran. Operation Flytrap had been born.--Andrew Sullivan, September 6, 2003
Sullivan himself subsequently backed off the flypaper model, but the meme never really dropped out of circulation.
The London attacks are yet another illustration of the absurdity of the flypaper line. The most likely culprits say that their killing spree was brutal revenge against Britain for its role in the Iraq war.
Let's get a few things straight: The war in Iraq never had anything to do with fighting international terrorism. Saddam Hussein was never willing or able to supply weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. The invasion and occupation haven't made a single person safer, they have not deterred a single terrorist attack. On the contrary, they are provoking these attacks in Iraq and abroad.
Yesterday's attacks have sparked calls to redouble the fight against terrorism. Bush and Blair hope that we will accept their definition of the problem and endorse their tactics. They will try to make resolve synonymous with deference. They will tell us that dissent is equivalent to capitulation. The emotional blackmail is already starting. People who suggest that the Iraq occupation is part of the problem will be branded as traitors.
Those of us who are skeptical of the administration's foreign policy must steel ourselves for vicious attacks. We too need resolve.