Monday, December 15, 2003

On Optimism

A slight followup to the post below. I'm not giving specific examples, but it seems that a lot of pro-war types are excorating anti-war types for having conditional or guarded reactions to Saddam's fall, as they're simply jubilant and believe that others should be as well.

There are some problems with that:

1) They're jubilant partially because it helps Bush. Were this President Gore, they wouldn't be acting nearly the same way. Period. If someone believes that Saddam's capture will indirectly hurt the United States by ensuring George Bush's re-election, then they have every right to state that, and to be attacked for that belief is infantile- one can be happy about Saddam and ticked about Bush.

(A historical example would be the Soviets beating the Germans and taking over East Germany. Beating Hitler was an unquestionably good thing. What happened to East Germany was not. How do you balance them out? You don't: just acknowledge both.)

2: There is a difference between trying to figure out what is going to happen and hoping that it is going to happen. One of the reasons why the situation in Iraq has been going badly (and, yes, Saddam's capture aside, the situation had been going badly) is that there was precious little planning done by the Pentagon, and the REASON why this happened was because Rumsfeld and Co. insisted that nobody even try to think about and plan about negative scenarios.

This is what the pro-war bloggers seem to be trying to do. If Saddam's capture reduces the number of attacks, then that's important. If it doesn't, that's also important. Trying to figure out which is going to come is perfectly legitimate. Is the former preferable? Yes. The latter can still happen, and it should still be discussed. Blogging isn't about P.R. for your favorite politician.

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