Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Lesson Still Unlearned

I'm still reeling from the news of this morning's terrorist attack in London.

The images and reports pouring in on the news channels are horrible, of course. And the calm reactions of British officials and Londoners themselves are, well... I guess I'm heartened at the exemplary response of a civilized people to an act of such detestable barbarism.

But what I lament most about the London attack is the lesson it illustrates that I fear, in the emotion of the moment, will be missed by many people, especially our leaders:

Our strategy in the Global War on Terror has not worked. It is not working. It is not going to work.

The London attack clearly illuminates the lunacy behind the "we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here," justification for the war in Iraq. If they can pull off a sophisticated, coordinated attack like that in London--perhaps the most counter-terrorism savvy city in the world--they can pull one off anywhere, including and especially damn near any city in the United States of America.

The argument that our Iraq incursion has deterred further attacks on US soil is pure Rovewellianism. For once, I agree with MSNBC's Ken Allard's line of thinking: bin Laden and his lieutenants have not ordered attacks in the US because to do so would be a disastrous strategic mistake. Another 9-11 would galvanize the American public and regain sympathy for us from the rest of the western world, completely undoing everything bin Laden has accomplished politically to date.

Hundreds of billions of dollars and who can count the casualties later, America is no safer than it was in September of 2001 and no closer to "victory" in the War on Terror. And yet...

Our misleaders will no doubt use the London attack to bolster its "stay the course" rhetoric, exhorting us to continue to support and fund a strategy that has, in my opinion, proven to be one of the most persistent failures in the history of human conflict.


  1. While the admin will probably use the terrorist attack to bolster their agendas, other like you will use it to bolster your own anti-adminstration agendas. I don't see much difference, to be honest. Seems like you've never seen a problem that you can't lay at the feet of Bush and others.

    I wonder why we have so many people on the extremes in this country - people who can't think in terms other than we=good, they=bad.

  2. Oh, bunk Scott. I'm talking about bad strategy--a strategy cooked up by the PNAC in the nineties that little if anything to do with terrorism.

    We're not only repeating mistakes of history, we're repeating our mistakes of yesterday.

    I'm not proposing we "give up" the War on Terror. I want us to put together a strategy that supports the aim. The one we're using now has not, does not, and will not.

  3. Anonymous3:43 PM

    Ex-squeeze me?? Are you really that blind and lacking in nuance?? Hell, this isn't even nuanced, for fuck's sake. The reason you can lay all this at the Adminstration's feet is because THEY fucked it up. No one else. They wanted this Iraq war and they got it. And their incompetence has made us so unsafe, it's criminal.

    You know what, don't even take Jeff's word for it: how about the CIA, the Pentagon, Anthony Cordesman, GEN Zinni, Richard Clarke - they are all saying the war in Iraq has made us less safe - the effing CIA has said it repeatedly and emblazened it in stone in its most recent report on terrorism. The Pentagon has said it, as has the War College and NDU. None of these people or organizations can be called "liberal" or Democrat. Good God, Scott, don't shoot the messenger.

    It's well documented we went into Afghanistan with barely enough troops to knock out the Taliban so they could keep most of the troops in reserve for Iraq. It breaks my heart that we went from having UBL on the ropes and the whole world - including the Muslim world - on our side and in one year we had the whole world marching against us. Bin Laden is still roaming free and terrorism continues unabated; in fact, we are fueling it. Already this year there have been 52 troop casualities in Afghanistan when all of last year we only had 54 - the Taliban and al Qaeda are resurgent there. I dream of what could have happened had we gone into Afghanistan full bore and done it right.

    My God - Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al WERE SUPPOSED TO BE THE 'A' TEAM, THE DREAM TEAM and they are so incompetent they couldn't find their way out of a wet paper bag.

    I feel like we're all living in bizarro world.

  4. Wow. Excellent post, Jeff. And Annon? You rock!

    Scott, I'm not sure how to address your freeper-like comment as my head's still numb by the news of the terrorist attacks in London. In the spirit of friendship, I shall refrain.

  5. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Question: If we are fighting the war over there in Iraq so we don't have to fight the terrorists over here in the US, then why are we on a Code Orange alert right now over here in the US?

  6. I have to add my wee voice to the others. Scott, how can you not lay this mess at the Bush administration's feet? What's the counterargument? I'm listening.

  7. We're code orange because, uhm...

    Terrorism is in its last throes?

    The terrorists are losing; that's why they're still committing terror?

    If we fight them over here we won't have to fight them in Iraq?


  8. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Ok, THAT'S funny!! LOL!!