Thursday, December 11, 2008

Conventional Wisdom

Kevin Drum - Mother Jones Blog: Obama and Afghanistan: "This has now become conventional wisdom: the real problem is Pakistan. So far, however, in the same way that plans for rescuing General Motors rely mostly on handwaving about 'restructuring,' plans for solving the Pakistan problem rely mostly on handwaving about 'getting tough.' Unfortunately, hardnosed details on how this is actually going to work are pretty thin on the ground. If Obama wants public support for an escalation of the war in Afghanistan, his national security team better start providing those details pretty quickly."

The conventional wisdom on many of the country's problems is empty of critical thought. We've come to the point, where mere poses pass as policy advocacy. The parallel between Pakistan and General Motors covers a great breadth and depth of inanity.

It might be noted that the Bush Administration pretty much ignored both problems for eight years. Michigan has been in an economic depression for years. General Motors was losing buckets of money several years ago. And, Pakistan? Long before the "Axis of Evil" speech focused attention elsewhere, it was obvious that Pakistan was the principal source of nuclear proliferation, as well as the sponsor of the Taliban in Afganistan, among other sins.

But, the deeper problem, imho, is the complete absence of critical analysis and elementary fact verification in discussing these issues. It is all handwaving and dramatic poses -- that's all there is: attitude.

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