Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hope for the best, expect a severe beating

Matthew Yglesias and I have had our disagreements in the past. He's always been gracious about it, though, and not merely because he has no idea who the hell I am. But yesterday he said something I have to share with you.
Does anyone -- anyone -- on the right genuinely believe that those of us who favor withdrawal from Iraq do so because we don't think it would be a good idea to turn the country into a shining success? Of course we don't think that. We favor withdrawal because we don't believe that indefinite continuation of an open-ended military presence in Iraq is likely to generate success. The country has been doing this for three and a half years now and things aren't improving; they're getting worse. Nobody disputes the desirability of success; we dispute the notion that continuing to do the same things that aren't working now, and weren't working one year ago, and weren't working two years ago, are going to magically start working if we give it another year.
Now. At this point somebody is likely to trot out the old quote about how it's crazy to keep doing the same thing and expect the result to change. I hate that old quote. It probably fits here, but I still hate it. If you keep doing something the same way, over and over, eventually the result will change. My point is that it won't change because of anything you did, and it won't change at a predictable time or in a predictable way. The only thing you can reasonably predict is that, since the change will be random and chaotic, it'll probably be a change that you won't like very much.

So, if that's the kind of change our leaders are hoping for in Iraq, then maybe they really are as stupid as everybody says they are.


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