The 'Fly Swat' strategy

The fly swat strategy is this;

With the U.S invading Afghanistan and Iraq, this creates an attraction to all the Jihadists and Islamist wannabes who want to fight against the States in direct confrontation with U.S military, rather than them attacking our countries and civilians. Their ability to attack Western targets and countries is visibly reduced.

Is this b.s or is there a ring of truth to it?

It’s B.S.

The old lightining rod theory again… I bet the iraqi people support 100% being used as a medium for terror “swating”.

Do you know how Bush is all safe and cozy in the White House and keeps saying tough stuff like “Bring 'em on!” ? Well did you think this was exclusive of americans ?! No way. The terrorists just train the teens and new recruits to blow themselves up. The master minds never strap on TNT…

Losing a US soldier a day seems like a pretty stupid way of “stopping” terrorism from hitting the western targets.

Actually the KIA rate has been closer to two a day since March. In just a couple of weeks, Mr. Bush’s war will claim it’s 1000th American life.

Nitpick: I’m sick and tired of seeing the phrase “lightning rod” used as a metaphor for something that draws trouble to itself. Lightning rods do not attract lightning, they repel lightning by dispelling the electric charge from the ground. If you wanted to attract lightning you would want a pole with a metal globe on top (like the one on a van der Graaf generator), not one with a point on top like the traditional lightning rod. Basic high-school physics.

As for the OP: For all those terrorists supposedly being drawn to Iraq and Afghanistan, somehow there still seem to be terrorist acts being committed elsewhere: Israel, Turkey, Spain, Indonesia, etc. Also – if the idea behind drawing the terrorists to I. and A. was that they would be easier to catch or kill if they were all in one place – that doesn’t seem to be working out too well either, does it?

Well I did say ‘visibly reduced’

Obviously, you don’t reduce - visibly or otherwise - terrorists’ ability to attack Western targets and countries merely by offering them the alternative of attacking Western troops and Western interests in the Middle East; you just give them a choice of fronts on which to wage their campaign.

Where terrorist movements have permanent bases, training camps, supply dumps, physical infrastructure, command posts, etc, you can obviously degrade the movement’s capacity by attacking and destroying them. I’d be willing to accept, therefore, an assessment that the US intervention in Afghanistan reduced Al Qaeda’s capacity to mount attacks in the US.

But I don’t think you can say the same about Iraq. AQ doesn’t appear to have had any establishment in Iraq and certainly didn’t draw any material or moral support from the then Iraqi government. Nor, I think, did any other anti-US terrorist movement. It’s hard to see how attacking Iraq could degrade the capacity of such movements in any way. As already pointed out, it gives the movements new opportunities to mount attacks on the US, since US interests are now exposed in Iraq. And of course by positioning themselves to be demonised as invaders, as occupiers, as anti-Arab, as hypocritical, as indifferent to civilian casualties, as . . . (insert criticism of choice here), the US may well have fomented support to anti-US terrorist movements, leading to more recruits, more material support, or even more toleration.

So, on balance, my sense would be that, so far as the “war on terrorism” goes, the intervention in Iraq has been a step backwards for two reasons. First, it will tend to generate support for, or tolerance of, anti-US militancy, which can only be of advantage to anti-US terrorist movements. Secondly, it presents those movements with a (relatively) easy target if they wish to attack the US or US interests, without doing anything to prevent them from mounting attacks in the US itself, should they choose to persist with that tactic.

Nitpick of a nitpick

Lightning rods don’t actually repel lightning, but attract static charges from the rod to the ground gradually so that a lightning strike isn’t produced. So I think the metaphor still works. :smiley:

Agree with the nitpick of the nitpick. I understood Rashak’s post perfectly.

As for the OP, this visible enough for you?

Increasing the antipathy for America has made terrorist recruiters’ jobs easier.
Increasing the antipathy for America has made terrorists’ ‘pledge drives’ easier.
Turning Iraq into such a chaotic place to has allowed more terrorists to train more thoroughly in the practice of violence.

  1. an increase in the number of potential terrorists;
  2. more opportunities for more terrorists to train in the ways of violence,
  3. more incentives for terrorist financial backer to support terrorism.

As PotUSA GW Bush once said, our oceans no longer protect us.

It’s just a matter of time until the upswing in the number of better trained terrorists puts a terrorist on our shores.
The lightning rod effect is an illusion that can only exist undispelled in the short term.
In the mid-term (3-5 yrs from now) more of the effects of al Qaeda’s planned for recruiting bonus will become more and more blatant.

How long till the homicidal reach the US? How long 9-11 was in the works before it came to fruition?

Did I mention that al Qaeda plans counted on the US lashing out?

Why do people get the idea I believe it? I was enquiring whether it was a good idea or a bad one.

Cite? I mean, it seems intuitively obvious that they would have expected the U.S. to do something in response to 9/11, but still – cite?

Most of the jihadi’s and Al Q and Taliban folk were already in A-stan , Iraq has basically recieved an influx of folks from Syria and Iran , and possibly some Al Q cadre to motivate the masses, along with a bunch of criminal types that Saddam freed just before the war.

It has a nice sound to it , but I don’t think either country has become a roach motel for foreign jihadi’s.


It is just a guess, er… I mean it is intuitive.
Heres the citation for UbL expecting US retalliation.
It’s retaliation from a different attack and doesn’t show that he anticipated the invasion of Iraq.

But enough hedging for now
9-11 Commission Report

By August 1, members of the cells not directly involved in the attacks had mostly departed from East Africa. The remaining operatives prepared and assembled the bombs, and acquired the delivery vehicles. On August 4, they made one last casing run at the embassy in Nairobi. By the evening of August 6, all but the delivery teams and one or two persons assigned to remove the evidence trail had left East Africa. Back in Afghanistan, Bin Ladin and the al Qaeda leadership had left Kandahar for the countryside, expecting U.S. retaliation. Declarations taking credit for the attacks had already been faxed to the joint al Qaeda-Egyptian Islamic Jihad office in Baku, with instructions to stand by for orders to “instantly” transmit them to Al Quds al Arabi. One proclaimed “the formation of the Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places,” and two others-one for each embassy-announced that the attack had been carried out by a “company” of a “battalion” of this “Islamic Army.”
and of Atta…

9-11 Commission Report

To him, Saddam Hussein was an American stooge set up to give Washington an excuse to intervene in the Middle East. Within his circle, Atta advocated violent jihad. He reportedly asked one individual close to the group if he was “ready to fight for [his] belief” and dismissed him as too weak for jihad when the person declined. On a visit home to Egypt in 1998, Atta met one of his college friends. According to this friend, Atta had changed a great deal, had grown a beard, and had “obviously adopted fundamentalism” by that time.

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to guess that these thoughts occured to others within al Qaeda.

So maybe what I said is bullshit. But here is some of the evidence I used to draw my conclusions.
Make of it what you will.

Anyone who swats flies thinking that they might defeat their main enemy is a fool . Those that on purpose swat flies just for the hell of it are evil.

Sorry for the hijack, but I have to correct this.

I have in my lap the book All About Lightning by Martin A. Uman, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville. Dr. Uman had previously worked at Westinghouse Research Laboratories on lightning research, was formerly president of Lightning Location and Protection, Inc., is the author of this plus two other books about lightning and plasma physics, 85 journal articles, former associate editor of Journal of Geophysical Research, is a member of the International Commission on Atmospheric Electricity, the American Geophysical Union, and the IEEE, and is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society. I list all these because his credentials certainly trump whatever source you heard your information about lightning from. He knows what he is talking about.

Chapter 2 of this book is called How Does a Lightning Rod Work? Here are some selected snippets:

So the way that “lightning rod” was used in the OP is correct - a lightning rod actually attracts lightning to itself. Granted, it can only do this with a stroke that would hit in the vicinity anyway.

A little corroboration

Sorry for the further hijacking. :o

Well, x-ray, Dr. Uman did say that it is a common misconception. Your cite was written by Tom Henderson:

Now compare his qualifications to talking about lightning to those of Dr. Uman.

Actually, I had never heard of this misconception, other than while reading Dr. Uman’s book, until BrainGlutton’s post above. That’s surprising, since I’m somewhat familiar with lightning (besides having read that book, I came from Texas Tech, which had reseaarch programs on lightning, and I took higher-level EE courses on pulsed power, plasma, sparks, etc.)