Monday, July 05, 2010

Afghanistan Vortex Theory

There is a canyon near Sedona, AZ which is purported to have powers of some sort. I’ve never been quite clear on the precise nature of these powers, but they are concentrated in “spiritual energy vortexes,” and they are the reason for a significant portion of the tourism that Sedona draws.

Apparently Afghanistan has some sort of “terrorist energy vortexes” which we must prevent the would-be terrorists from accessing because, according to the sainted general of the Middle East, David Petraeus, we are fighting in Afghanistan to assure that,

“…al-Qaida and its network of extremist allies will not be allowed to once again establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they can launch attacks on the Afghan people and on freedom-loving nations around the world."

Or, as President Obama put it in several speeches, we will “deny them the safe haven in which to plan their attacks.”

Apparently Petraeus and his Commander-in-Chief are on the same page, which is good news, but I’m wondering if they are reading the right book.
Or, perhaps, if they even know how to read. Being on the right page doesn't do much good if you don't know how to read the damned thing.

Anyway, they seem to believe that either the terrorists cannot plan or launch attacks from anywhere other than Afghanistan, which is clearly at odds with the evidence before us, or they think that any attacks planned or launched anywhere other than Afghanistan will be feckless affairs which will be ignominious failures.

There is some evidence supporting that second assumption. There is the “underpants bomber,” for instance, and then the guy in Times Square; both of whom conducted plots whose execution was exceeded in degree of ineptitude only by the planning. One was Yemeni in origin and the other Pakistani, so perhaps the terrorists do need access to that Afghanistan terrorist vortex that David Petraeus is protecting so carefully.

There are a couple of flaws in the Petraeus/Obama plan, however, even assuming that the “Afghanistan Terrorist Vortex” theory is correct. First is that the purpose of the terrorist is to terrify, and these plots manage to terrify the population of America, cause us to change our laws and our behavior, and waste our resources on defense even when they are inept and fail to accomplish the immediate objective. They don’t really need to blow anything up, they just need to make us think that they can do so.

The other is that the “We’re fighting them over there so that we don’t have to fight them over here,” has turned into, “They’re blowing us up over there because we’re making it unnecessary for them to blow us up over here.” And they just need to keep making us think they can blow us up over here to keep us letting them blow us up, financially if nothing else, over there.

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