Saturday, September 08, 2007

Mitch McConnell, Homer Simpson, and the Flypaper Strategy

Earlier this summer, Senate GOP head honcho Mitch McConnell was making noises about the need to change course in Iraq. Since then, Senator McConnell has had a change of heart.

Earlier this month, McConnell held a press conference where he reverted to the "flypaper defense." You know, "If we don't fight them in Baghdad, we'll be fighting them in Biloxi." On his recent excursion to visit troops in Iraq, George Bush made a similar argument. "If we let our enemies back us out of Iraq," said the president, "we will more likely face them in America. If we don't want to hear their footsteps back home, we have to keep them on their heels over here."

Commenting on the forthcoming Petraeus report, Senator McConnell argued that withdrawal from Iraq makes us susceptible to attack at home:

And I hope that this reaction to Iraq and the highly politicized nature of dealing with Iraq this year doesn’t end up in a situation where we just bring all the troops back home and there by expose us once again to the kind of attacks we’ve had here in the homeland or on American facilities.

Remember Al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center in ‘93, they blew up our embassies in East Africa in ‘96, they blew a hole in the side of the US Cole in 2000 and killed over 3000 US citizens on 9-11. They were very much at war with us before we decided to go to war with them. Since we’ve been at war with them not a single successful attack here at home. So the question is regardless of how you feel about the state of things in Iraq at the moment what’s the best way to protect the homeland, us here, civilians in America for the future and I think it involves at least some level of American troop deployment in that area of the world…”

Reporter: “In Iraq or…..?”

McConnell: “Well that would be up to the generals to recommend where the troops ought to be but I think we need to be in the neighborhood of where the biggest problem is so we can deal with it there and not have to deal with it here.

The logical fallacy employed by McConnell reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of "The Simpson's." A bear comes into town early in the episode, but after imposition of a "bear tax" airplanes and armored vehicles patrol Springfield, protecting residents from another inevitable bear attack.

Homer Well, there's not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol is sure doing its job.
Lisa That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer Thank you, sweetie.
Lisa Dad, what if I were to tell you that this rock keeps away tigers.
Homer Uh-huh, and how does it work?
Lisa It doesn't work. It's just a stupid rock.
Homer I see.
Lisa But you don't see any tigers around, do you?
Homer Lisa, I'd like to buy your rock.


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