Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Always Got Mad When the Class Was Dismissed, but When It Was In Session...

Today brings more evidence that, contra David Brooks, we won't have to leave Iraq before "every bad guy on earth [studies] and learn[s] [the insurgents'] techniques." First, there's this:

Eight U.S. troops were slain in Iraq on Monday in a deadly chain of events that began when a U.S. helicopter crashed, apparently shot down by small-arms fire, according to a U.S. military official.

A military vehicle rushing to the helicopter crash site was hit by an exploding roadside bomb, and a second "quick-reaction force" vehicle also was hit, the official said.

The two pilots of the Kiowa helicopter were killed in the crash; six soldiers died in the bombings of the two vehicles, and three others were injured.

If you recall, in January/February there was a spate of helicopter downings. It is likely that insurgents involved in those attacks "studied and learned" from our responses. This time, they were able to plan coordinated attacks targeting the response teams. According to Brooks, though, these lessons would only truly sink in once we were ultimately "defeated." Might have something to do with jihadist ADD.

Perhaps more troubling, though, is this confirmation of the obvious and inevitable via Swopa [emphasis his]:

The Iraq war, which for years has drawn militants from around the world, is beginning to export fighters and the tactics they have honed in the insurgency to neighboring countries and beyond, according to American, European and Middle Eastern government officials and interviews with militant leaders in Lebanon, Jordan and London.

. . . Maj. Gen. Achraf Rifi, general director of the Internal Security Forces in Lebanon, said in a recent interview that “if any country says it is safe from this, they are putting their heads in the sand.”

Last week, the Lebanese Army found itself in a furious battle against a militant group, Fatah al Islam, whose ranks included as many as 50 veterans of the war in Iraq, according to General Rifi. More than 30 Lebanese soldiers were killed fighting the group at a refugee camp near Tripoli.

. . . In an April 17 report written for the United States government, Dennis Pluchinsky, a former senior intelligence analyst at the State Department, said battle-hardened militants from Iraq posed a greater threat to the West than extremists who trained in Afghanistan because Iraq had become a laboratory for urban guerrilla tactics.

There are some operational parallels between the urban terrorist activity in Iraq and the urban environments in Europe and the United States,” Mr. Pluchinsky wrote. “More relevant terrorist skills are transferable from Iraq to Europe than from Afghanistan to Europe,” he went on, citing the use of safe houses, surveillance, bomb making and mortars.

A top American military official who tracks terrorism in Iraq and the surrounding region, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the topic, said: “Do I think in the future the jihad will be fueled from the battlefield of Iraq? Yes. More so than the battlefield of Afghanistan.”

Militants in Iraq are turning out instructional videos and electronic newsletters on the Internet that lay out their playbook for a startling array of techniques, from encryption to booby-trapped bombs to surface-to-air missiles, and those manuals are circulating freely in cyberspace.

I can't wait for the next Rudy Giuliani to attack the next Ron Paul when the latter suggests that such an esoteric concept as "blowback" exists. Surely, the GOP faithful will have a good hoot at the expense of the latter day Paul.

You see, the World's Most Expensive School for Terrorism exists and the student body isn't waiting for us to dismiss class one way or the other. The rather dedicated pupils are doing fine regardless. And I'm sure they're very appreciative. But it isn't apples that the students are bringing to their teachers. Even if they want to say thank you to Headmaster Bush.

[UPDATE: From Josh Marshall's commenter discussing the flypaper theory way back in '03:
Now that's extraordinary. Kind of like saying "by having a dirty hospital, we fight germs on our terms," or something ridiculous. Its not as if there's a finite number of "terrorists"--chances are anyone fighting us in Iraq never would've thought twice about attacking us elsewhere before we invaded--we're breeding germs is all. Part of the reason Saddam was so brutal was because he had plenty of people as brutal as he going after him all the time--now we've unleashed those forces against our troops. Has there yet been any sign that our real nemesis, Osama and al Qaeda, are in Iraq? No. What we're really doing is diverting our resources while al Qaeda sits back and reaps the windfall of our distraction and formulates their next attack. What horrible logic to rationalize the continuing deaths of American soldiers caught up in a situation that had nothing to with al Qaeda, nuclear weapons, or anything else of significance.

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