Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On plans for surges

Rep John Boehmer (R-Ohio) echoed the thoughts (or party line) of many Republican Senators and Representatives yesterday in the House debate regarding the President's plan for a surge. He repeated the chestnut that it just wasn't fair to pass a resolution against a plan that hasn't been tried. Now, I think that there might be good reasons not to pass a non-binding resolution of this sort. For instance, it shows a singular lack of the courage of the Democrats' convictions and an attempt to have it both ways. But to complain that we shouldn't reject a plan that hasn't been tried because it hasn't been tried ranks among the most confused arguments that there could be. Presumably, one cannot try out all possible plans. One must choose one in particular. In order to do this, one must reject a multitude of plans that have not been tried. In fact, trying some of them forestalls trying others of them. The only time it makes sense to reject a plan is precisely before you have tried to put it into effect. If you wait until you have executed it, it isn't a plan anymore.
It could be that Boehmer and others are just claiming that we ought to give the President and his plan the benefit of the doubt. But, of course, his plans for this war haven't exactly been sterling.
So that leaves him to fall back on that other old nut of an argument, that if we were to withdraw we would be giving al-Qaeda exactly what they want. It seems that we already did this when we invaded--we removed a secular albeit evil ruler and opened the way for sectarian violence of exactly the sort that al-Qaeda desires in the region.
Is it in their interest that we leave? Or is it in their interest that we come more and more to look like a long-term occupier of Iraq? Should every decision we take always rely on a consideration of what the many dispersed leaders of al-Qaeda may think is in their interest? I don't know. What I do know is that, in spite of the Pottery Barn rule, sometimes things you break can't be fixed, or at least not very easily.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where were you when I needed someone to cheat from when I took a Logic midterm