Remember “flypaper”?

At a certain point in the war, when it first became apparent that things had not ended like a happy Hollywood movie on Pulling Down the Statue Day, supporters of the war came up with a rationalization they called the “flypaper theory.” Since the war was becoming a focal point for regional terrorists, they decided that this was exactly what they had in mind all along — that as long as terrorists were busy in Iraq, they wouldn’t bother us here. Leaving aside the question of whether terrorism is quite that much of a zero sum game — which I truly doubt — we are left with an inherently disturbing moral calculation: the notion that it is acceptable, and even desirable, to use soldiers as bait in order to keep the Homeland safe. Go over there and keep them busy blowing you up, so that we may sit safely in the nearest Starbucks with WiFi.

It was all nonsense of course, an after-the-fact rationalization inspired by Bush’s thoughtless “bring ’em on” remark. And I understand this. Otherwise I might be tempted to cynically note that the proponents of the flypaper theory should be delighted today, because it seems to be working really, really well.

Berg’s death is more horrible, but no more tragic, than any of the other 773 U.S. fatalities, as of this writing — kids, many of them, barely out of childhood, robbed of the rest of their lives by a war that makes less sense every day. And let’s not forget the estimated 4000-7000 Iraqis killed so far — how many of them were guilty of nothing more than choosing the wrong birthplace?

Rose petals, my ass.

Iraq body count says the Iraqi civilian death estimate is closer to 10,000.