Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Saturday, November 15, 2003
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Self-plagiarism About Iraq

In a comment thread over at Eschaton yesterday, I addressed a couple of things the "you break it, you bought it" crowd had to say about staying the course in Iraq. I figured "what the hell?" and am sharing the bad analogies I came up with.

My response to the "we have an obligation to fix what we broke" folks:

If my car isn't broken and I take it to a mechanic so that he can 'fix' it and he breaks it instead, isn't it his responsiblity to, at the very least, get it in running condition so I can drive home?

I bought a builder's home many years ago. He had a plumber friend of his do the plumbing. The ceiling over my kitchen started showing signs of a water leak, and I called the plumber, who "fixed" the problem. The leak came back. He "fixed" it again. I eventually had a general contractor friend of mine check into it. He eventually fixed the problem for real.

Moral: you don't have the same incompetent asshat plumber keep fucking up your plumbing. All it does is mess up your kitchen and cost you money.

In other words, I think the US needs to turn over Iraq to people who might be less incompetent than we are. Quite frankly, I don't know if there are any plumbers who can fix what we've done, but we clearly aren't up to the task, and are really only making things worse. Which leads me to my response to the "we can't leave now, there will be civil war/Taliban/other bad things" crowd:

[I]f we stay, it's more than likely that we'll enjoy the same result. Check out the CSIS report I mentioned, and note the polling data BushCo likes to ignore that indicates most Iraqis (at least the Shia) want an Iranian-style theocracy. Fact is, we leave and bad shit happens, or we stay and bad (or even worse) shit happens. Imagine our troops being caught in a civil war.

Since everybody loves bad analogies, lemme give you one. Say you're in the Bennington Pottery store in Burlington, and you accidentally knock over a big pot and it breaks. The store has a "you break it, you bought it" policy, so you give 'em your plastic and they charge you for the broken pot. They don't make you work in the shop for the next decade.

We broke Iraq, so we have to put in some skin. But let's limit it to financial aid and get our people the hell out of Dodge before more die, and more kill innocent Iraqis.

Light-hearted analogy aside, we need to think of the larger ramifications of staying in a country where we are not wanted. We are creating more opportunity for al Qaeda to recruit new terrorists, we are continuing to turn Arab and Muslim opinion against the US, and we are still alienating our allies. Our presence in Iraq is doing absolutely nothing to achieve our strategic aims (i.e., domestic security), and only harming our short- and long-term interests.

Using analogies is a dreadful way to argue, but people put a lot of stock into them so I try to counter them best I can. Anywayz, I'm curious what DM readers think about why we should or shouldn't stay in Iraq now that we're there. Any good analogies or counter-analogies?


[Update: Slight tangent. I don't know how I forgot to mention this, but Dave Pollard at How to Save the World has an interesting, perspective-shifting thought experiment and discussion about the Iraqi occupation.] 

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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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