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News Iraq: flypaper for terrorists

  1. Sep 28, 2004 #1
    Might one strategy (not necessarily one with which I would agree) for the US occupation of Iraq be to concentrate world terrorism and systematically attempt to eliminate it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2004 #2


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    I assume that you mean violent terrorism, rather than fear mongering. Because, despite any illusions anyone may have about it, Bush & co have benefitted greatly from Al Quaeda's activity, and are still using fear for political gain.

    If it is a strategy then it is a lousy one:

    Since the US (or coalitiion) has invaded Iraq, there have been many terrorist events. Major ones would include the bombing of the street cars in Madrid, the Belsan school massacre, the australian embassy bombing, hostage taking in Saudi Arabia and the simultaneous crashing of russian jet lines. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, but it's hard to point to any area in the world that has seen a marked reduction in terrorism since the US-led invasion of Iraq while Iraq proper has, of course, seen a huge increase in terrorism.

    Even in regions where terrorism is associated with muslim extremism, like Israel, there hasn't been an appreciable decrease in terrorism, in fact, terror problems in Saudia Arabia -- which borders Iraq no less -- has gotten worse rather than better.

    Considering the nature of terrorism in the US (primarily individuals like Tim McVeigh, Ted Kacynsky, or Harris & Klebold and organizations like the KKK or the Wheathermen) it's hard to see why how this flypaper strategy would be effective or a reduction in threat when most terrorism in the US is domestic.

    Finally, it seems rather silly as a strategy agains Al Quaeda, since the US effectively ceded one of Al Quaeda's objectives by (militarily) leaving Saudi Arabia, and is turning a strongly controlled secular country into a poorly controlled and more sectarian one.
  4. Sep 28, 2004 #3


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    In general the problem with this theory is that it assumes that the number of terrorists is fixed, i.e. that new terrorists aren't being recruited, just moving around. But people living in the circumstances faced currently by Iraqis are perhaps the easiest people to recruit as terrorists, especially as they will see themselves as defending their home from a foreign invader. The spectacle of what is happening in Iraq also makes recruitment outside Iraq easier among people who identify with the Iraqis against the US. As a strategy for fighting terrorists, it's hard to think of a worse one than what we're doing in Iraq.
  5. Sep 28, 2004 #4
    melting all your weapons, opening the borders and walking slowly towards them might be worse
  6. Sep 28, 2004 #5


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    I don't give Bush that much credit, but I'm comfortable with that reality.
  7. Sep 28, 2004 #6


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    Actually, its the Iraqis who see themselves as defending their homes against a foreign invader who are joining the US and Iraqi government forces, not the terrorists.
  8. Sep 28, 2004 #7
    Terrorists won't all be able to get to Iraq, and it's not like you can eliminate terrorism by just killing people. Al Qaeda has even said that the way Bush deals with stuff by only using force is a big factor in their recruitment, the more violent and agressive he is, the more people believe them about America, and are willing to fight against these foreign invaders they see the Americans as.
  9. Sep 28, 2004 #8
    Perhaps the best strategy is to understand one's adversary, so to differentiate them from one's enemy. Thus I might study Islam to appreciate my competition, to learn to accept them for the most part, and to differentiate them from terrorists. Once the bombs have been dropped, though, there is little recourse, even in a democracy.
  10. Sep 28, 2004 #9


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    I didn't say anything about Iraqis who are supporting the US. All I said was that from the perspective of those fighting the US, this contributes to their motivation.

    It stands to reason both groups think they're defending their home. I also suspect there are any number of Iraqis who wish both sides would just go away.

    You don't have to like all the varied motivations of the Iraqis, but not taking them seriously enough is part of what got us into this mess in the first place.
  11. Sep 28, 2004 #10


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    It's not concentrating them very well. If there's any benefit, it might be that sooner or later, they've got to be stretched a little thin (but typical military limitations/strategies probably don't apply when you're talking terrorist groups). Your Islamic fundamentalist groups are supporting insurgencies in Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Iraq, plus pulling off a few headline making incidents, such as Spain, Beslan, Russian airliners, etc.

    I don't think normal military strategy works against these types of groups - they may work better with fixed training sites and established financial networks, but there is no 'war' to win that eliminates them. Afghanistan was a start, but you have to put a concentrated effort into persistently disrupting their finances, their leadership, and their ability to travel around the world. And this only pushes terrorism down to plots easy to carry out - car bombs, suicide bombers, etc within their local area.
  12. Sep 28, 2004 #11
    God, this is just so Amazing.

    Bush fights a war in Iraq, is facing a huge insurgency, and people try to make it out to be good. "All the terrorists are just right there killing our soldiers, this is so great, now we can finally take them all out at once instead of having to travel all over the world! We should go and start Anarchy in other countries to attract even more terrorists to kill!"
  13. Sep 29, 2004 #12


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    The war is going fine. The quotes reveal it quite clearly.

    Bush, May 2003 (standing in front of “Mission Accomplished” banner) “In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”

    Baghdad Bob, April 2003 – “We are winning.”

    Bush, July 2003 – “[Iraqi insurgents confined to] … a few areas of the country. And wherever they operate, they are being hunted, and they will be defeated. ... Now, more than ever, all Iraqis can know that the former regime is gone and will not be coming back."

    Baghdad Bob, April 2003 - Any apparent American gains, he said, were a cunning ploy by the Iraqis to lure the enemy into a trap. "Our armed forces, according to their tactics, are leaving the way open"

    Bush, July 2003 – “Conditions in most of Iraq are growing more peaceful.”

    Baghdad Bob, April 2003 – "They are not in Najaf. They are nowhere. They are on the moon. They are snakes in the desert..."

    Bush, Dec 2003 – [Saddam will] "face the justice he denied to millions. …. This afternoon I have a message for the Iraqi people: This is further assurance that the torture chambers and the secret police are gone forever."

    Baghdad Bob, Dec 2003 – “That isn’t Saddam. You captured Santa Claus. I demand his release.” (Okay, so that one is made up).

    Bush, April 2004 – “As the June 30th date for Iraqi sovereignty draws near, a small faction is attempting to derail Iraqi democracy and seize power … In Fallujah, Marines of Operation Vigilant Resolve are taking control of the city, block by block. Further south, troops of Operation Resolute Sword have taken the initiative from al-Sadr's militia. Our coalition's quick reaction forces are finding and engaging the enemy. Prisoners are being taken, and intelligence is being gathered.”

    Baghdad Bob, April 2003 – “"They are nowhere near Baghdad. Their allegations are a cover-up for their failure"

    Bush, Sep 2004 (Bush) – [the violence is growing] … "because people are trying to stop the march of freedom."

    Baghdad Bob, April 2003 - "we managed to chop off their rotten heads"

    Bush, Sep 2004 - "Terrorist violence may well escalate as the January elections draw near. The terrorists know that events in Iraq are reaching a decisive moment. If elections go forward, democracy in Iraq will put down permanent roots, and terrorists will suffer a dramatic defeat."

    Baghdad Bob, April 2003 - "They are achieving nothing; they are suffering from casualties. Those casualties are increasing, not decreasing."

    Edit: I think the point got lost in the gathering and pasting of the posts.

    If the violence decreases, Bush says that it indicates the situation in Iraq is improving. If the violence increases, Bush says that it indicates the situation in Iraq is improving (the opposition is raising the level of violence out of desparation because they can see a major turning point coming). A more credible response would be to explain how he intends to correct the present situation (increased troop levels, etc).

    His problem is that most of the solutions are kept low profile, since they cause problems elsewhere - reduction of troop levels in Korea, the long term impact holding Reserves and National Guard beyond their agreed upon terms (this is a measure he can use in times of national emergency), and the long term impact of re-activating military members who have fulfilled their active duty commitment (members of the Individual Ready Reserve who may be reactivated in times of national emergency). The solutions don't match the words.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2004
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