military strategy for dummies

When they say “we’re fighting them in Iraq so that we don’t have to fight them at home,” what do they mean?

I’m imagining wannabe-terrorists throughout the Moslem world moaning, “I’d like to go to the Great Satan and blow shit up, but I can’t get past that cursed roadblock in Baghdad!” . . . but that’s just silly.

Is Iraq vital to terrorist logistics? Almost as silly, but maybe the War Party has got enough of the People convinced of it.

One other interpretation makes sense to me: that “our” forces are in Iraq to provide the terrorists with a more convenient and conspicuous target.

the trouble with neutrality

Alan Bock writes:

So it was time to break out one of the oldest canards in American political discourse – the assertion that anybody who questions any particular military adventure is – cue the boo track – a nasty old isolationist.

In a reasonably sane world such an assertion would have little or no traction. Impatience with wasteful spending and the unnecessary loss of American lives is hardly the same as wanting to withdraw from the world. The notion that military force is the most constructive way to engage the world is more than a little strange to begin with. To suggest that questioning a particular use of military force is tantamount to wanting to retreat behind our borders and have no contact with the outside world is almost beyond absurd.

The trouble, you see, is that all the other ways of engaging with the world are not orchestrated by The State, and therefore can’t be any good.

and don’t stop until you catch your tail

That droll Mr Bush recently said it would be bad to stop killing people and breaking stuff in Iraq before “the mission” is completed. Say what? I thought the mission was to take Saddam’s nukes and war-germs and bad chemicals away from him, and cut off his support for al-Qaeda; well, that was accomplished quite a while ago. So what’s the mission now? To find a retroactive justification for the invasion?

still not settled down yet; give it another good shake

Why “we” went to war, version 7 or so: Rummy says

You do not defeat Al Qaeda until you stabilize the Middle East, and that’s not possible as long as Saddam Hussein is in power.

(Cited, for other reasons, by Tom Parmenter (Desperado).)

Conservatives by definition have an exaggerated regard for stability, but this is a strange kind of stabilizing; things settle down sooner, in my experience, if kept away from explosions. Anyway, wasn’t Saddam’s state tolerably stable over the previous twenty years?