Well, there goes that theory...
Odds are we probably won’t be hearing for a while the Bush mantra that the reason we're fighting them over in Iraq is so we don't have to fight them here at home. For the last few months, this ludicrous shibboleth has been the president’s go-to line -- his latest rationale for slogging on in Iraq.
Here he was on July 4th: "We're taking the fight to the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home."
And during his primetime speech to the nation on June 28th, there he was again, this time quoting the commander on the ground in Iraq: “We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us."
The attacks in London proved how absurd this either/or logic is when fighting this kind of hydra-headed enemy.
Not only was this flypaper theory empirically disproved by the London carnage, it directly contradicts the president’s other most often used justification for the war -- that we invaded to liberate the Iraqi people. So let me get this straight: we invaded them to liberate them... and to use them as bait to attract terrorists who we could fight on the streets of Baghdad rather than the streets of London and New York?
Of course, it didn't take the London bombings to reveal this premise as a sham. The presence of American forces in Iraq didn’t keep the enemies of western culture from attacking Madrid. And it didn’t keep them from planting explosives in London’s tubes. And it won’t, in and of itself, keep them from striking here. Indeed, it’s helping terrorists recruit new followers -- and hone their deadly skills.
How pathetic is it to keep arguing that fighting Baathist Sunni insurgents in Iraq is keeping us safe from Al Qaeda terrorists and their offshoots on our soil?
It’s still not clear who was responsible for the London bombings, but let's assume for a moment that the initial reports turn out to be true, and that it was an offshoot of Al Qaeda. No one can seriously argue that if the U.S. and Britain had spent the last 46 months -- and over $200 billion -- focusing on Al Qaeda rather than Iraq these attacks would not have happened. But we can say without a doubt that spending that time and money in Iraq did not prevent them.
If Iraq is like flypaper, it unfortunately looks like we’re the ones who are stuck there. Any predictions of what Bush’s rewrite boys will come up with next?