~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Friday, July 08, 2005

The holes inherent in the "flypaper" argument

My heart goes out to the London families ravaged yesterday by the stupid, backward-thinking, totalitarians responible for such atrocities. We're in this together, England. They want to hurl us all backward into a feudal mode of civilization, erasing every bit of the progress we've made over the last 500 years. We won't let that happen.

At Belmont Club, Wretchard (eloquently as always) admits to the guesswork inherent in analyzing Al-Qaida's strength:

My personal subjective judgment is that Islamism has weakened across the board in nearly all of these places even after OIF. If we consider the nearest thing to referendums on Al Qaeda (as a component of the general question) available in the Islamic world -- the Iraqi, Afghan and Lebanese elections -- it is safe to assert that they are not ringing endorsements of radical Islamism, but rather reflect its relative decline.
And that is my personal subjective judgment as well. As he points out, there are no hard and fast numbers to definitively prove that Operation Iraqi Freedom has syphoned off valuable resouces from Al-Qaida. Some naysayers flatly state that the lack of hard data negates the "flypaper theory" that says our entering Iraq is drawing the terrorists into Iraq for the slaghter. They say that yesterday's London bombing could be viewed as evidence that our presence in Iraq is fueling attacks, not mitigating them. Well, we measure what we can measure, and draw the simplest conclusions. It's not science, it's an educated guess. Wretchard:

The London attack was as deadly as Al Qaeda could make it. They would have blown up 30 trains if they had the means. Certainly it was not the milk of human kindness that stayed their hand [...] The inevitable question then is 'why could Bin Laden not find the means to attack 30 trains?' The answer it seems to me, must be Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa and hundred other places where he is engaged without quarter by US forces.
A reasonable conclusion. The CSI Factor may be at work here. Just as prosecutors across the country are complaining that shows like CSI with pat, perfect, scientifically unasailable endings are prompting juries to demand proof beyond all doubt, not just reasonable doubt, skeptics of our efforts in Iraq are demanding the same level of proof before they lend the full weight of their support.

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