The complete moral bankruptcy of the War Party is coming out of the closet, as they say, with the emergence of the strategic thinking behind the war in Iraq. To those Americans who see that there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, no weapons of mass destruction, no imminent danger, the war is a mystery. As American casualties become a daily routine, and Iraq slips into chaos, more and more Americans want to know: What we they thinking?

Ah, but Andrew Sullivan knows…..

In the confidential manner of a practiced sycophant, the British-born writer, former editor of The New Republic, and George Orwell wannabe, is so eager to show off his chumminess with the powerful that he lets slip the following:

“Some time before the Iraq war, I found myself musing out loud to someone close to the inner circles of the Bush administration. We were talking about the post-war scenario, something that even then was a source of some worry even to gung-ho hawks like myself. …I voiced some worries about what might happen if an occupied Iraq became a target for international terrorism. Wouldn’t U.S. soldiers become sitting ducks? What was to stop al Qaeda using Iraq as a battleground in the war against the West? …

“And what he said surprised me. If the terrorists leave us alone in Iraq, fine, he said. But if they come and get us, even better. Far more advantageous to fight terror using trained soldiers in Iraq than trying to defend civilians in New York or London. ‘Think of it as a flytrap,’ he ventured. Iraq would not simply be a test-case for Muslim democracy; it would be the first stage in a real and aggressive war against the terrorists and their sponsors in Riyadh and Damascus and Tehran. Operation Flytrap had been born.”

With U.S. soldiers as bait, “sitting ducks,” as Sullivan puts it, the strategy of the U.S. is to say, in effect, “Bring ’em on!” So what if we lose a couple of hundred – or a couple of thousand – GIs in the process of springing this clever little trap. Baited with plenty of juicy young American troops, just waiting to be picked off, Iraq will attract terrorists like a dead carcass attracts flies. “Operation Flytrap” – it’s enough to make any decent person gag. As opposed to Sullivan, who opines:

“The extra beauty of this strategy is that it creates a target for Islamist terrorists that is not Israel.”

God, how I wish it were Sullivan and not some wide-eyed innocent from Idaho patrolling the mean streets of Baghdad. Let Andy take a bullet for Israel!

Is it really possible for anyone but a moral monster to praise the “beauty” of a strategy that treats American soldiers like sacrificial lambs, moving targets in a shooting gallery, totally expendable? To say nothing of how it treats the Iraqis – who are discovering that the “liberation” of their country means turning it into a charnel house. A more profoundly evil scheme would be hard to imagine.

Aside from its appalling immorality, “Operation Flytrap” won’t protect us from terrorism. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says “We’re killing, capturing terrorists in Iraq which is a whale of a lot better than Boise.” But what would bring them to Boise to begin with is a desire to avenge what happened to Baghdad, and, at least so far, the U.S. government can’t stop them from coming: if ABC News can smuggle depleted uranium into the U.S., imagine what horrors Al Qaeda could import to our shores. To think that our strategy is to rile up this hornets’ nest is to realize the madness of our leaders.

Given the reality of the “Flytrap” strategy, it ought to be clear, by now, why the biggest opponents of the Iraq war are senior military officers, both active and retired. To them, this is a truly monstrous idea, one that makes a ghoulish mockery of everything they have ever believed and fought for.

The childlike innocence of evil, the complete absence of any moral sense, prevents Rumsfeld and Sullivan from seeing themselves as monstrous. In their own minds, they are legends: Sullivan thinks he’s Orwell, and who Rummy imagines himself to be – Napoleon? Caesar? God the Father? – is more information than I need to have. Suffice to say that they see themselves as the Good Guys, idealists even, and they are genuinely shocked when ordinary people (as opposed to those who inhabit the Washington Beltway) express revulsion at their ideas. Sullivan writes:

“I subsequently aired this theory on my blog, and received incredulous responses. Readers chimed in with objections.Wouldn’t that mean essentially using U.S. soldiers as bait? Isn’t this too cynical and devious a strategy? Isn’t there a limitless supply of jihadists just longing to mix it up with the U.S. in a terrain they know better than we do? What on earth are you talking about?”

What on earth, indeed.

As a prime example of the Court Intellectual, whose job it is to flatter and fawn over the wit and wisdom of royal personages, Sullivan does a good job of rationalizing the disaster that unfolded after our “victory” in Iraq. It was all part of the plan, you see: Bush isn’t trying to pacify the country. His goal is, rather, to “continue waging war against terrorism.” The chaos is intentional. As death comes knocking on the doors of the families of American soldiers killed in the escalating conflict, Sullivan has the nerve to write: “Opportunity knocks.”

What’s funny, in a morbidly unhealthy way, is that the clueless Sullivan thinks the President ought to come out with this “Flytrap” strategy in public:

“At some point, I’d argue, the president therefore has to make this strategy more formal. He has to tell the American people that more violence in Iraq may not in some circumstances be a bad thing.”

Too bad the White House is unlikely to take Sullivan’s advice. Dubbing the Iraq war “Operation Flytrap,” and likening U.S. soldiers to cockroach bait would sure help the American people – and the troops in the field – see the true meaning of this rotten war.


Michael Ledeen called this strategy “creative destruction,” in his book, The Terror Masters, and his bold espousal of a profoundly evil idea is perhaps the chief characteristic of that infamous faction known as the neocons. They seem to revel in their own bloodlust. For example, neocon Max Boot, who bemoaned the low level of casualties in the Afghan war. Presumably the significantly higher casualty rate in Iraq has somewhat assuaged him.

Speaking of Ledeen, the deranged intemperance of the man is a sight to behold. In response to a speech by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), entitled “We’ve Been Neoconned,” he went into hysterical fits in the pages of National Review Online, and accused the noted libertarian congressman of “distorting” his words. This is a typical neocon tactic: accuse your enemies of crimes you yourself have committed, even in the act of accusing them.

Rep. Paul cited Ledeen’s “creative destruction” thesis exactly as it appeared in The Terror Masters:

“Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence – our existence, not our politics – threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission.”

In his barking bombast directed at Rep. Paul, however, Ledeen weasels out of his own words, and changes the last sentence to:

“Therefore ‘they must attack us in order to survive,’ and, sooner or later, we must confront them and, I hope and trust, defeat them in order to advance our mission of spreading freedom.”

Ledeen accuses Rep. Paul of misquoting him, yet he slithers away from his original meaning by revising his text to say “defeat” instead of “destroy.” The coward doesn’t even have the backbone to stand by what he actually wrote.

What Ledeen is afraid of is what Sullivan doesn’t have the sense to see: that normal people are repulsed, instead of attracted, to this callous cruelty. The sheer nastiness of the neocons is what has many people, both right and left, utterly appalled. They are horrified that a flock of bloodthirsty shrikes has commandeered the nest in Washington, and they listen with unease – and growing disgust – to the triumphant war cries coming from that direction. Ledeen is trying to tone it down, but the guilty secret of the neocons is out. They are moral cretins, with no more sense of right and wrong than any of the other crazed ideologues with a murderous “historic mission,” as Ledeen puts it – and just as dangerous.

“It should embarrass Congressman Paul to publicly expose himself as an ignoramus and a fool,” rants Ledeen, but Ron Paul has done nothing of the sort. Ledeen has exposed himself as a liar, and a weenie – and it isn’t a pretty sight. He claims not to advocate extending the Iraq war into Iran, but his U.S.-directed and subsidized “political” warfare against Tehran would lead to the introduction of U.S. troops as the inevitable deus ex machina of his “revolutionary” morality play.

What riles Ledeen about Rep. Paul’s speech is that it indicates how widespread the neocon meme has become. It’s one thing to be denounced as a “neocon” in the pages of, and quite another to be so singled out on the floor of Congress. The other day, my mailman, whom I occasionally engage in political discussion, referred to “the neocons” as if they were the incarnation of pure evil. When the resentment gets that widespread, it’s time for Ledeen and his cohorts to watch out.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].