A pitched battle over an intelligence assessment, covered first by The New York Times and then The Washington Post, broke out across the media today. Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig went so far as blame the whole fuss -- over the negative view of the war in Iraq and the war on terror -- on liberal journalists. CNN aired an interview with President Bush in which he declared that one day the Iraq war will look like "just a comma."
The National Intelligence Estimate declared that the war in Iraq has increased Islamic radicalism, worsening the overall terror threat, cutting at the heart of the White House defense of its strategy. The assessment “should put the final nail in the coffin for President Bush’s phony argument about the Iraq war,” Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) said in a statement.
Remember, flypaper theory was sold as a feature, not a bug, of the Iraq invasion. The super-geniuses of the Bush administration, and various water-bearers, seriously argued that attracting militants to Iraq from around the Islamic world, that is, repeating the Afghani Arab phenomenon, would diminish the threat of Islamic radicalism. Because, I guess, it worked precisely the opposite way last time...?
The idea always smelt strongly of bong hits. But when you realize that some senior Bush administration officials actually advocated installing a Hashemite ruler in Iraq after the fall of Saddam (not content merely to figuratively repeat the mistakes of the past, they wanted to literally repeat the mistakes of the past) it's perhaps not so surprising that they would push something as silly as flypaper theory.