Friday, February 22, 2008

Defining Victory Downward

This blog is premised on the idea that, while policy is not a morality play, politics must make use of morality plays to coordinate the evolution of common beliefs about goals and acceptance of means.

The Bush Administration has made the last six years a sad period of decline and decay for the American Experiment, as we have witnessed appalling policy, but waited in vain for the political storm to sweep away the malefactors.

In no case is this sadness greater than in the case of the Iraq War, a strategic failure well-earned by incompetence of leadership and policy at the highest level. And, yet, the narrative of that failure remains in the hands of its advocates.

Michael Kinsley: "It is now widely considered beyond dispute that Bush has won his gamble. The surge was a terrific success. Choose your metric: attacks on American soldiers, car bombs, civilian deaths, potholes. They're all down, down, down. Lattes sold by street vendors are up. Performances of Shakespeare by local repertory companies have tripled.
Skepticism seems like sour grapes. If you opposed the surge, you have two choices. One is to admit that you were wrong, wrong wrong. The other is to sound as if you resent all the good news and remain eager for disaster. Too many opponents of the war have chosen option two."

It is true. An opponent of the war is trapped, unable to express the simple truth, unable to advocate withdrawal effectively.

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