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The Puppy Dog Theory Of Terrorism
Richard Clarke, counterterrorism adviser to both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, writes at of the idiotic propaganda about fighting terrorism on Middle Eastern soil so we won't be fighting it on ours:

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?

Of course, nothing about our being "over there" in any way prevents terrorists from coming here. Quite the opposite, the evidence is overwhelming that our presence provides motivation for people throughout the Arab world to become anti-American terrorists.

Some 100,000 Iraqis, probably more, have been killed since our invasion. They have parents, children, cousins and fellow tribal clan members who have pledged revenge no matter how long it takes. For many, that revenge is focused on America.

At the same time, investing time, energy and resources in Iraq takes our eye off two far more urgent tasks at hand: one, guarding the homeland against terrorism much better than the pork-dispensing Department of Homeland Security currently does the job; and two, systematically dismantling Al Qaeda all over the world, from Canada to Asia to Africa. On both these fronts, the Bush administration's focus is sorely lacking.

Yet in the fantasyland of illogic in which the President dwells, shaped by slogans devised by spin doctors, America can "win" in Iraq. Then, we are to believe, the terrorists will be so demoralized that they will recant their beliefs and cease their terrorist ways.

In the real world, by choosing unnecessarily to go into Iraq, Bush not only diverted efforts from delivering a death blow to Al Qaeda, he gave that movement both a second chance and the best recruiting tool possible.

via Bruce Schneier

Posted by aalkon at April 30, 2007 3:39 PM


> to both Bill Clinton and
> George W. Bush

Important note, that. On the morning of September 12, I was not inclined to credit the opinions of any holdovers from the Clinton national security teams... Especially Clarke and Tenet. And after all, wasn't Clarke the guy who gave the order setting the Bin Laden family free to flee the United States by air that day? The problem is not that he doesn't want to fight there: He doesn't want to fight anywhere.

> Iraq takes our eye off
> two far more urgent
> tasks

Amy loves to say this. When you ask what should actually be done, --meaning what steps should be taken and investments be made, rather than what outcome would she prefer-- it gets real quiet.

> guarding the homeland
> against terroris

I just don't want to hear that shit from that man. The blood is as red on his hands as any. This is despicable.

> systematically dismantling
> Al Qaeda all over the world

This isn't happening? Has he heard of a shop, like a new McDonald's franchise in a Toronto suburb, that we haven't dealt with? It would be great if he could send the address.

Posted by: Crid at April 30, 2007 11:27 AM

You will find a lot people who spent years in government service never staking their reputations on a risk. Their M.O. is to do their job slightly well. Do not create waves and appeal to the ever changing political winds. Once they retire from public service... then they can make some noise. On how they were the real mavericks within the government. If they are lucky, the press will appear interested, get a book deal and churn out a few op-eds. Schmooze enough key people to become a special advisor to a Presidential candidate.

Posted by: Joe at April 30, 2007 11:55 AM

It seems to me we live in a world where we have to both fight in Iraq and chase Al Qaeda around the world. If we don't have the resources to do both, then we have lost.

Posted by: doombuggy at May 1, 2007 7:48 AM

Ah, but we do have the resources for some methods of eradication! I have a friend who was deployed to Afghanistan. Don't think for a minute that the forces over there aren't wreaking havoc with Al-Qaeda as often as possible. And we (the general public) aren't privy to information about the cells in this and other countries that have already been taken out, and that are being targeted, simply because there'd be a media feeding frenzy. The work is being done, but it's slow go, because terrorists are like cockroaches, and there's more where they came from!

Posted by: Flynne at May 1, 2007 12:14 PM

There will always be 'terrorists' if you don't leave the job of rooting them out to the locals : who have the impressive advantages of 1) speaking the language 2) Knowing the culture 3) understanding what seems important locally and 4) being familiar with the 'bad actors' in the communities.
What is actually happening is what every intelligence service the U.S.A. runs unanimously predicted : a massive cock-up.

Posted by: opit at May 1, 2007 6:50 PM

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