"Reverse domino effect.' the bush admin is once again revealing its difficulty with language. This new affront to logic -- a twist on the famous domino theory formulated to explain how Vietnam's neighbours would fall to the communists if the U.S. failed to intervene there -- refers to what will happen after Iraq is "liberated."This updated version foresees a similar chain reaction, but in this case regime change in Iraq will lead to a series of democratizations in the Middle East from Syria to Egypt. Hence "reverse."
But what can it mean? To even envision it, we need to flout the laws of physics as easily as Bush flouts international law. We have to see fallen dominoes rise up one by one like reconstructed towers, the first one creating such an updraft that it draws up the next and the next and the next.
This might happen when you hit rewind on the VCR, but it doesn't happen in the real world. In the real world, Iraq has not seen fit to align its forces in conveniently placed mutually toppling sequences. Rather, it seems to be enacting its own Vietnam-era strategy, the hide-and-strike tactics of guerrilla warfare -- an approach that can only be increasingly dangerous to the hungry, thirsty Iraqi civilian populace.
The domino image makes more sense when applied to the cause-and-effect catastrophe unleashed by bin Laden's attack on the two towers. Those dominoes have fallen every which way. They've shattered the "alliance," divided Europe, separated Canada and the U.S., outed Bush and his cabal. And now the great secular domino of Iraq, for which bin Laden surely has no love, teeters precariously on the edge of a huge humanitarian crisis. He must be dancing.
Meanwhile, the big black dominoes explode out of the night. They rip through buildings and into basements. They disperse depleted uranium dust that remains radioactive for 4.5 billion years. They don't discriminate between civilian and military, child or adult, friend or foe. And there can be no reversal here. It's happening in real time right before our eyes.
Those murderous blossoms will not shrink back into the bombs they exploded from. The night's dead will not miraculously rise up from their bloodied shreds to resume their place in their families. All this is done and irreversible. And it will have its own cause and effect far into the future.