The Flypaper Offense

In a conversation recently, an interesting phrase -"flypaper strategy"- was used to describe Iraq and Afghanistan. Out of that idiom came a fairly heated argument over whether or not we are employing this flypaper method to attract terrorists into an arena where there are plenty of American military and not a whole lot of American civilians.

To call either the Iraqi or Afghani theatre a "flypaper strategy" would be a misnomer. The word strategy implies that our intentions from the very genisis of Operation Iraqi Freedom were to spawn the tough insurgency that we have been fighting. Our strategy was to win, pacify, and democratize, not to attack and occupy.

But to call the military's posturing in Iraq a "flypaper offense" would be perfectly reasonable. Critics say that the coalition is bogged down, when in fact the real victim of quagmire is the insurgency . Composing of mostly foreign fighters, fighting a terrorist war with no purpose other than to kill, the insurgency has opened a conflict that it can only win through our own decision to withdraw and lose. We have freedom of movement and of choice. The terrorists do not.

Insurgents enter Iraq, become ceaselessly occupied with killing without rhyme, reason, or strategy, and eventually make themselves conspicuous enough that coalition finds them and deals with them. An insurgent's chances of leaving Iraq alive are substantially lower than American soldier's chances of leaving Iraq alive.

Thus the insurgents become "stuck without strategy" while the coalition serves as the swatter. This may not have been a "flypaper strategy," but a "flypaper offense" is a superb narrative for the ongoing coalition operations.

Flypaper Offense may not prevent another 9/11. It may not prevent Al Qaeda from penetrating our borders again. But it sure to hell has the jihadists' watching their backyard, as opposed to our own.


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