Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Yet another reason (if you needed one)

...to avoid a "timeline for withdrawal" from Iraq, even a milestone-based one. The usual line, which is indubitably true, is that a timeline gives al Qaeda and its cohort a target to out-wait. But even points along a timeline are dangerous:

What is the engine of our involvement in Iraq? A combination of the will of the American people and the will of the American president. I have confidence in President Bush to stay this course until circumstances make it apparent that we, and the Iraqi people, have won. (As Orson Scott Card says in Ender's Game, since when does the victor need to be told he's won?) In the will of the American people, I have less confidence - not because the American people have poor judgment, but because they're an aggregate, not an individual. So it's possible to affect their - our - sense of the worthiness of the cause by several means, including - here's the rub - missing milestones.

So far, Iraq has done a brilliant job of meeting the milestones set for it internally and externally. But let's say we set a series of milestones tied to troop withdrawals. How many milestones would al Qaeda have to disrupt before the American people's aggregate sense of our effectiveness in Iraq would be damaged beyond salvage? Better by far to keep Coalition troop levels fluid, able to respond to events, and keep our eyes on the prize: a stable, democratic, allied-with-us Iraq, as I said in my previous post.


pst314 said...


Over at Protein Wisdom you wrote:"

"...the Quakers, pacifists of course then as now, benefited greatly [profiteered] from the American Revolution."

I've never heard anything about that. Can you point out any books or other sources?

Jamie said...

I've actually apologized, personally and in the PW comments section in which I made those comments, for my inapt and inept slide into unsourced controversy-mongering. A neighbor of mine told me these stories, and they stayed with me because - well, who thinks of Quakers in a negative light? But it was irresponsible and wrong of me to make those comments without checking into them first.

I plan to ask my neighbor for his source, and look into it myself. But on the face of things, I'm ready to say that I was not only wrong to comment in ignorance, but also objectively wrong.