The email alluding to the bombings in London whose victims were still being pulled from the rubble where they died arrived Friday morning. It was a single sentence from my friend, Ann. “Gosh, I’m so happy Bush’s plan to ‘fight terrorists in Iraq so we won’t have to fight them in…oh…say, England?’ is working so well,” she wrote.
That indictment says more than Ann probably intended about her outlook. I marked the statement for its unstable foundation, misplaced attribution, and turd-in-a-punchbowl sarcasm. But before chivalrous readers rise to decry an “ad feminam” argument where I mean none, let me add that Ann’s reaction differs in degree but not in kind from opinions expressed by other progressive pundits.
In a logical world, her sentiment would be as rare as allergies to tennis balls among Golden Retrievers. But you’re more likely to see a polar bear in a fez driving a go-cart for the Shriners at a Fourth of July parade in Havana than to find an intelligent discussion of “flypaper” strategy among doctrinaire Democrats.
Want to use events in the sceptered isle to justify leftist bile over flyspecked tile? If so, your quarrel is as much with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Fearsome Neocon Establishment (tm) as with President McChimpy Bushitler, whom we’re told has no gift for “strategery” anyway.
“Fine,” runs the rejoinder, “but the buck stops with the president, competent or not.” All well and good in the realm of abstraction which the progressive mind calls home. But to apply that to what happened in London last week is to misunderstand American power, Islamist motivation, and European politics.
In the first place, American military might cannot alone defeat terrorists throughout the world any more than one piece of flypaper can trap every flying insect within a square mile of Aunt Irma’s potato salad. We’re good, but we’re not that good. One example of many: investigating last year for the New Yorker magazine, Lawrence Wright reported that planning for the bombings in Madrid of March 2004 had started even before President Bush sent American Special Forces operators into Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11/01.
In the second place, the testimony and sacrifice of people in the Sunni Triangle edition of Flypaper Central makes clear that non-Iraqi terrorists play a significant part in the carnage there. In other words, the flypaper strategy is working, and it’s reinforced by the Islamofascist predilection for what the U.S. military calls “red on red” violence between co-religionists. More scrupulous murderers wait for fatwas to embolden their trigger fingers. Less scrupulous murderers invoke the Koran while blowing up rival mosques, not to mention trains, buses, planes, buildings, and infidel Zionist toddlers.p>In the third place, as Andrew McCarthy wrote recently for National Review Online , “when parliament enacted a tough anti-terrorism law, the House of Lords threw out the provisions permitting national-security detentions,” because “detaining terrorists without trial violated European human-rights br> standards.” /p>
One hopes the House of Lords didn’t have postmodern nihilism or Dutch sanction for euthanasia in mind when it emoted about European notions of human dignity, but on this side of the Atlantic, one is also grateful for things like the Second Amendment and the detainee camps in Guantanamo Bay. Safeguards like those complicate logistics for the death cultists whose business cards identify them as al Qaeda party planners.
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