Archive for the ‘Richard Clarke’ Category

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The puppy dog theory of terrorism

April 27, 2007

Of all the dumbed-down slogans used to sell the invasion of Iraq, and now to sell Bush’s plan to stall and bleed until it’s some other President’s problem, none is quite so blindingly, obviously moronic as “We’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.”

One thing and one thing only has prevented another major Al Qaeda attack in America: the scale of Usama bin Laden’s success on September 11 took him by surprise. He never dreamed the towers would actually collapse. Now, just blowing up a truck bomb in Boise, or offing a few carsfull of subway commuters with poison gas, would constitute a PR setback for him. It would make his movement look less powerful. He accidentally gave himself a supremely hard act to follow, and has no present means to inflict damage on the same scale. He needs kilodeaths, not the hundred or two he knows how to reliably produce. So – for now – he holds back.

On Wednesday Richard Clarke nailed the silliiness of that slogan with the derisive rephrasing it deserves (and the fact that his op-ed was granted space in the New York Daily News, of all places, shows how weak a half a leg the war’s popularity now wobbles on):

Does the President think terrorists are puppy dogs? He keeps saying that terrorists will “follow us home” like lost dogs. This will only happen, however, he says, if we “lose” in Iraq.

The puppy dog theory is the corollary to earlier sloganeering that proved the President had never studied logic: “We are fighting terrorists in Iraq so that we will not have to face them and fight them in the streets of our own cities.”

Remarkably, in his attempt to embrace the failed Iraqi adventure even more than the President, Sen. John McCain is now parroting the line. “We lose this war and come home, they’ll follow us home,” he says.

How is this odd terrorist puppy dog behavior supposed to work? The President must believe that terrorists are playing by some odd rules of chivalry. Would this be the “only one slaughter ground at a time” rule of terrorism?

Whoever contemplates 9/11 for three seconds will recall what it took in resources: half a million dollars altogether (one day’s poppy crop in Afghanistan more than covers it), 19 volunteers, and 19 boxcutters. Bush’s war has, by the military’s own estimates, created at least 10,000 active recruits for the jihadist cause. Chancellor Bush asks you to believe that, so long as our soldiers keep dying, so long as fresh unavenged Iraqi deaths keep creating thousands of new Islamicist recruits, UBL will never be able to find 19 extra pairs of hands to spare. Has there ever been a balder-faced line of hooey than that?

It is the American Gulliver who is tied down unable to budge from Iraq, not bin Laden’s swelling Lilliputian horde. It’s long past time to put the puppy dog theory of terrorism to sleep.

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