Different perspectives

It’s fascinating how two bloggers look at the same article on how Iraq’s becoming the new playground for Al Qaeda and the likes, and draw two diametrically opposed conclusions.

Andrew Sullivan joyufully titles his piece, “Fly paper — it’s working,’ as though the current siege is a good thing because it’s putting us face to face with the terrorists in their own region. (Sullie’s link is screwed up so I can’t provide it.) It all underscores how brilliant Bush is:

If this pans out, then the Bush administration really will have pulled off something important: taken the war to the enemy, taken it out of the West, and given us a chance for military victory.

Then Josh Marshall reads the same piece and has a slightly less jubilant reaction:

When I read it, the story left me mute, expressionless, bereft — as though I’d just watched someone die.

The article is quite disturbing and if there’s anything about it that’s optimistic, I’m definitely missing it. At times it’s downright ominous:

“The monster is already near you,” said one Arab official who is familiar with the intelligence and who spoke on condition that he not be identified by name or nationality. “I don’t know if you can kill it.”

The official added: “Iraq is the new battleground. It is the perfect place. It will be the perfect place.”

Sounds like we’ve got them right where we want them, doesn’t it?

The Discussion: 3 Comments

It would seem the plan is working, grinding slowly with a method.

I’ve never thought much of the ‘fly-paper’ theory. Yet, it may, in part, be true. Why a couple o’ hundred would want to confront the combined arms of the many services and their apparently growing effectiveness in the covert world of spies is beyond me.

What strikes me most is that now, names and faces are begining to appear on the WEB’s best newspapers. Just two years ago, reporters only had speculation to go on. Today, seems such a vastly different world and Iraq does not look to be so dark and indistinct.

Maybe, the fog of war is clearing.

September 8, 2003 @ 10:18 am | Comment

I honestly can’t believe this is all unfolding as Bush planned. If it were, he would never have done the Top Gun landing and make it appear he felt it was all over. That cost him big-time, and maybe long-term. No, I have to conclude he really felt the worst was over.

I am still giving him partial benefit of the doubt because I believe it is ultimately a decent cause, even if it seems he’s squandered precious opportunities to make it more achievable.

September 8, 2003 @ 1:06 pm | Comment

In re: Bush and Iraq

Frankly, I never gave the carrier landing much credence, either, but for a different reason. It was a dog and pony show and nothing more. That type of choreographed presentation happens all the time whether it is with a president, a speaker of a house or more usually someone you’ve never really even heard of but is part of the establishment. And, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of being in one of them, it’s well … yawn.

As for Iraq, it seems pretty clear there was a lot of good luck in addition to good planning. Drop by this site for some insight on just how a military mind works seen from a distance with a practiced eye.


The people who post this site are professional war-gamers. They actually make a living shadowing all the world’s militaries to come up with realistic games for the fun and enjoyment of any armchair general with a computer and time.

Go to the ‘Lessons Learned’ section. The insight they offer is really quite extraordinary and shows quite clearly how military minds today are planning actions at multiple levels. I suppose chess is still the best analogy, gambits within gambits within gambits.

And, for your shut in reading check this reporter at the Globe and Mail, Doug Saunders, Sept. 6, 2003.


The two key ‘graphs from a very good, clear-eyed reporter:

“Since al-Qaeda is not an army, but an ideological, transnational movement, there is no enemy military force physically to defeat,” said Bruce Hoffman, a Washington-based terrorism expert and military consultant. “In fact, our enemies have defined this conflict, from their perspective, as a war of attrition designed eventually to wear down our resolve and will to resist.”
We have become used to a “war” being something that lasts a few months at most, possibly only days. This one could last a lifetime — and there is no question, given the enormous shifts in manpower and geographic focus, that the United States is preparing for just that. “Our enemies see this conflict as an epic struggle that will last years, if not decades,” Mr. Hoffman said. “The challenge therefore for the U.S. and other countries enmeshed in this conflict is to maintain focus, and not to become complacent about security or our prowess.”
First it was the Great War then the Big War and Cold War. Now, we have World War IV, what a concept.

Sorry you’ve got the flu. A summertime sickness is always worse than in the winter. And, sorry for such a long-winded post.

September 8, 2003 @ 10:50 pm | Comment

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