I was ruminating on the war in Iraq, and had a couple of thoughts:
1) I don’t believe the Joint Chiefs are stupid enough to not have envisioned the levels of terrorist insurgency we see in Iraq.
2) I don’t believe they are politically motivated enough to not have planned for it at some level.
Those thoughts led to this:
3) What if the insurgency we’re seeing is PART of the plan?
And then it hit me: fly-paper.
Summary of plan: Take down an Arab nation, and install Western militaries and a western-style democracy in it. That nation will become a terrorist magnet. Not only will it become a potential killing field for the worst the Islamofascists have to offer, it might also provide westerners with money trails elsewhere. The only drawback is that U.S. and other Western soldiers become a sort of very heavily armed bait. To those able to think in terms of “acceptable losses” and “collateral damage,” this is preferable to U.S. citizens being targeted on home soil.
Now, before the flames get lit, please understand that I’m not trying to justify the western presence in Iraq. I’m trying to UNDERSTAND it. In the context of the word “fly-paper,” it starts to make a scary kind of sense. If you’re up against a widely distributed enemy who is determined to hit you guerrilla style, presenting that enemy with attractive targets that turn out to be traps is a strategy with significant historical precedent (though obviously it may suffer in implementation). It has been employed against 20th-century guerrillas and WWI German submarines, 19th-century indigenous peoples, and 18th-century pirates.
This might also explain some of the White House rhetoric. Under a plan like this, Bush, Rumsfeld, and others would be required to sound a) just intelligent enough to their own people that we don’t turn on them, thus “staying the course,” and b) stupid enough to the terrorists that they continue to believe that throwing money and people into the meat-grinder is a winning strategy.
It’s likely that I’m completely wrong, thinking like a writer of complex fictions rather than a military strategist. But if this post disappears suddenly, you’ll know the NSA had to shut me up before I ruined everything.
(EDIT: It turns out I’m not only not the first person to think of this, but I posted this exactly two years TO THE DAY after Andrew Sullivan did. Creeeepy.)