It must have seemed a stroke of genius to him at the time, Andrew Sullivan. Here was a concept that served as excuse, explanation, defense, innovation, strategy, and pithy catch phrase all in one: the "Flypaper Strategy."
Oh, he extolled its "extra beauty" and encouraged the President to "make this strategy more formal." He explained how it made the President's bellicose taunt "Bring 'em on" an intentional battle cry, not simply inappropriate grandstanding. He argued that a new target for extremist hatred in the Middle East (i.e., not Israel) would provide "a new theater of war that wasn't the West Bank" and how that would change attitudes about who's to blame in the I/P conflict. He quoted Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Sanchez to support his suspicion (hopes?) that this was "a central part of the strategy from the beginning."
He fantasized about how foreign troops, who were being encouraged to join the fight, could perform the more custodial tasks, such as peace-keeping and security in urban areas, thereby freeing up the US troops to "leave the cities and fight a guerrilla war against al Qaeda and Hezbollah in the Iraqi hinterland, putting extra pressure on Iran and Syria at the same time."
It's now proved a bit unrealistic, all that. Now that the US has failed to get help from foreign troops (and civilian contractors are fleeing in droves), now that US troops are completely bogged down restoring peace to the cities themselves (and not only fighting the terrorists, but also Iraqi militia), now that--with June 30 pressing down on us--it behooves us to tighten those borders the terrorists have been pouring through...rather than leave them wide open to make Iraq all the more inviting.
Yes, it was a grand theory, Mr. Sullivan. Sorry it didn't pan out...would have been an amazing chapter in your autobiography...
Personally, I've always been horrified by this hawkish hallucination. Using US troops as bait is one thing (and I find that reprehensible), but the terrorists are also killing civilians (including Iraqi civlians). Using them as fodder is beyond reprehensible. Yes, it's (mostly) the terrorists killing them, but with an eye toward inviting the terrorists to do their best, the Administration recklessly placed them in harm's way. To imagine that doing so was part of the US strategy form the beginning is to begin to doubt that individual Iraqis hold any value at all for this Administration. Assuming it was planned, the imbecility of this strategy is surpassed only by its dereliction. I personally think (hope) it was simply a convenient, subconscious device to reconcile Sullivan's growing awareness that the Administration was hopelessly unprepared when it invaded Iraq. (Something Sullivan's since acknowledged [see "BUSH'S RESPONSIBILITY"). Overall, analysis-wise, I'd say Sullivan's done better.