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Monday, September 19, 2005


Iraq the honeypot

There are two options. The majority of the insurgents in Iraq are Iraqis. In which case their insurgency is granted a degree of legitimacy by virtue of it being a liberation movement. This does not mean that it is something to be supported, something to be praised. But would certainly call both the narrative promulgated by the occupying forces and the occupation itself into question.

The other option we have is that the majority of the insurgents are ‘foreign fighters’. In which case the invasion of Iraq is a tremendous moral mistake. Right-wing US commentators were cheerleading for the war, arguing that Iraq could be used as a ‘honeypot’. ‘Terrorists’ would be drawn to the carefully chosen battlefield where they could be killed with a minimum loss of US (non-military) life. Of course, this is at a terrible cost to the Iraqi people, who were not (even if we consider Saddam Hussein to have been representative of the Iraqi people) guilty of attacking the USA.

As President Bush says; “we were attacked, and we are responding to this attack”. Does being attacked legitimate retributions against people unconnected in that attack? Does it allow you to turn the home of 25 million people into a convenient battle ground to allow you to fight wars quite unconnected with them a safe distance from your own people? To say ‘yes’, is to legitmate whatever horrors have ever been or are to come. To argue against this general, amoral principle requires a belief in American exceptionalism. And that belief makes you an enemy of every single person who is not American.


More than you wanted to know about Iraqi insurgent groups from Global Security dot org. They are a peace group that figures maximum exposure of world militaries is good way to promote peace. Usually pretty reliable, though since 2003 events have been moving faster than their staff can up.

I think your two options are a little too simple for the situation. Most reliable source I know of do not think the honeypot idea was motivation for Bush or most of his supporters, but I doubt any of them are crying any tears to the extent that is the result. I certainly wouldn’t call it a good basis to go to war.
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