T Nation

Flypaper Theory


I know that it's conventional wisdom to dump on the flypaper theory in Iraq (i.e., we would attract the terrorists to Iraq and fight them there instead of elsewhere). But even so, it seems like things played out that way somewhat anyway, particularly with regard to al Queda.

Here is a link to Michael Totten's latest update from Iraq:



[i] "What's the most important thing Americans need to know about Iraq that they don't currently know?" I said.

"That we're fighting Al Qaeda," he said without hesitation. "[Abu Musab al] Zarqawi invented Al Qaeda in Iraq. The top leadership outside Iraq squawked and thought it was a bad idea. Then he blew up the Samarra mosque, triggered a civil war, and got the whole world's attention.

Then the Al Qaeda leadership outside dumped huge amounts of money and people and arms into Anbar Province. They poured everything they had into this place. The battle against Americans in Anbar became their most important fight in the world. And they lost."[/i]

Read the whole thing.


Good post.While I'm against the war,I appreciate what the hard reality is for American troops on the ground,and anything that points to a stabilization of the situation is very welcome.
I'm not sure I agree with the flypaper theory even in the slightest though.

I sincerely hope that the cooperation that the US troops are experincing in Anbar spreads and hastens the return home of those young (and not so young)men.


They lost what, a battle? A city, for a while...?

There's a problem with seeing these conflicts in terms of win/lose. Al Qaeda, or other terror organizations don't have a central HQ that can capitulate and make sure all its "troops" cease fighting. Even if you could magically make AQ disappear from the face of the Earth today, a few malcontents could reform it tomorrow.

The Taliban in Afghanistan are a good example. They lay low for a couple of years before starting to come back in ever more savage attacks. They can afford to wait, to bide their time. Hell, they live there. Unless they lose popular support and get rooted out by the locals, they can never really "lose," only be kept in check for a while.

So, as AQ really been beaten in Iraq, or are there simply aware the reinforcements will become unsustainable for the US in April '08? That's just a few months away. Why escalate conflict with a much better armed force now, when you can instead keep the chaos at a low sizzle until about 30,000 of the US troops go home?

If the US seems to be making good progress, you might have to escalate against the larger force, but right now, the political aspect of what could eventually become a working solution is in shambles. An Iraq without a working central government is just teetering on the verge of chaos, there's very little to do to push it there.


PLus, they can fight for the next 5 years.

Or ten.

Or twenty.

The US can´t.


The flypaper theory is retarded because it was a post-2003 rationalization for why we should be in Iraq, by the same people who told us there wasn't going to be an insurgency.

In addition, even if we were "fighting them in Baghdad instead of Boston," we'd be playing into their hands. Where do you think it's easier for Muslim terrorists to kill Americans, in an Arab country where they can blend in, speak the language, and find tons of munitions cheap or free, or in America?


Whenever I hear someone make the case for this theory, I can't help but think what their speech would be a lot different if it were their country being wrecked.


Speaking of flypaper...

"US Army snipers in Iraq are ordered to "bait" areas with explosives and ammunition and then kill whoever picks them up, according to court documents."



Sounds like a reasonable tactic as long as they use good judgement.


Excellent tactic. Sounds like it already got a few with this method.


I guess it's better than the Russian tactic of making landmines look like children's toys. Wanna talk about deliberately targeting children and innocents? That is insane.



Who knew? You could sink lower...

P.S: There is no policy to make them "look like children's toys" that I know of. It's just about the coloring. In any case, isn't the US making mines and cluster bombs?


They stuffed them in teddy bears.


Sure you can. Look at Islamic terrorists.
- Blowing up buses
- Rocketing civilian areas
- Attacking schools

You need to read up on US policy regarding land mines, fucknut. The US is very careful with them. Active denial systems are much more cutting edge. As to cluster bombs even someone like yourself, head firmly buried in the sand, realizes the US doesn't use them against civilian targets.


Try and keep up. The link is dated in 2004.


Who said we sunk lower than the Russians? I think leaving land mines that resemble children's toys was the lowest of low that the Ruskies could ever do, and they did it in Afghanistan.

About the mines and cluster bombs. Don't terrorists use car bombs?



More importantly, the US was cheering up as Israelis dropped cluster bombs on civilians in Lebanon last year.


You know something is seriously fscked up when you start setting you standards based on those of terrorists.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


We get it that you have nothing significant to say.

Take your own advice.


Silly even by your low standards.

The rag you linked to was an editorialized version of a news story that was devoid of fact. Common in the ME as you are well aware.

Curiosuly where are the pictures of Americans cheering. Your still a fool.