Sunday, November 12, 2006

Democrat Call for Iraq Troop Reduction

According to the headlines today, leading Senate Democrats are planning to use their new power to “press for troop reductions in Iraq within a matter of months.”

Based on what?

Apparently, based on the voters. Senator Levin said,

’The people have spoken in a very, very strong way that they don't buy the administration policy,’ Mr. Levin said on ABC. Mr. Reid, in a separate appearance on CBS, said troop redeployment ‘should start within the next two months.’

So, the reason that Senator Levin is pressing for troop reductions in Iraq is because the person who sits across from me on the bus, whose sole topic of conversation has never ventured outside of (1) the weather, and (2) recent events on whatever ‘reality’ show was on the night before, says that we should pull our troops out of Iraq.

To a large degree, I do not blame the Senator as much as I blame the person sitting across from me on the bus – the person making a totally ignorant claim about what we should do in Iraq – the person pretending to know that she can solve the world’s problems without ever cracking a book on history, psychology, or economics.

What is wrong with a voter simply saying, “I do not know?”

Yet, I still blame Senator Levin and those like him to some extent. I blame them for not having the courage to stand before the voter and say, “I am going to act in whatever way will make America best off. I am going to base my decision on the best evidence I can find gathered from experts in the field. I would like you, the voter, to give me the flexibility to take whatever action the experts recommend.”

This is what worries me most about the current situation – the potential suffering that can be brought about by ignorant people pressing the government into doing something that an intelligent expert in the field could easily see was a foolish idea.

I want the Senator to come before me and say, “I got this plan from the best minds on the planet.” I am not talking about some ideologically blind ‘think tank’ that simply dismisses anything that brings their favorite theories into question. I am talking about people who make a living out of learning the relevant subjects.

They might still make mistakes. However, it is foolish to blame a person for a mistake recommended by the best minds on the planet.

This method of approaching problems leads to a different sort of problem. Imagine a Senator or a President stepping before the people and saying, “Do as I say. Do not question me, because you are ignorant, and I have access to the wisest people on the planet. Therefore, you should support my plans no matter what.”

This is dangerous. The President or Senator who demands our trust in this way probably seldom deserves it.

However, it is far easier for a voter to know whether a political figure is getting good advice than it is to know what that advice is. It is easier to determine if a President is listening to the best minds on the planet regarding climate change than it is to learn enough about climatology to actually give sound (and specific) policy recommendations.

This is why I want Senator Lavin and other leading Democrats to tell me where they are getting their expert advice from. When they tell me that they are getting their advice from the voters, I get nervous. The voters know nothing about Iraq, the middle east, or (perhaps most importantly) the psychological effects of our withdrawal on the minds of would-be terrorists.

I truly do fear that an American withdraw could result in cries of “God is Great” from the other side, seen as proof that God favors the terrorists, and that with enough faith and enough determination the jihadists can win this war against America. It could fill them with a new fighting spirit – a new determination to charge forward to the next victory.

Where is Senator Levin getting his information – his assurances – that this will NOT happen? From the average voter? That is not particularly wise.

This means that I also want my fellow voters to send a clear message to Washington. This is not a message that we should stay in Iraq, or that we should leave Iraq. It is a message to our representatives that their duty is to find experts who can actually make reasonable and informed recommendations – and to follow the recommendations of the best minds on the planet. We should send them a clear message not to listen to idiots or people blinded by simple-minded ideology when deciding on a strategy. The Bush Administration has proved that doing so is a short recipe for a disaster. One thing we do not need is another disaster.


Anonymous said...

Exactly. Trying to keep an insane person from doing insane things is, itself, insane. Don't get sucked into judging your every action by how fanatics will react to it.

The real, physical consequences of our actions need to be our primary concern. And one of those consequences, potentially, is getting thousands of Americans out of a line of fire they have no clear reason to be in in the first place.

It really isn't that irrational to take your hand off the burner *before* convening a panel of experts on what kind of burn treatment to apply.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

First, I am not saying, "Stay in Iraq until we make it stable." I am not saying "Leave." I am saying, "Let the decision be made by those who are experts in the field." And I do not know what solution may be.

JustinOther: Yes, the insurgents will claim victory no matter what - just as it was a foregone conclusion that Bush would claim that we are making important progress in Iraq. However, Bush did not have the luxury of deciding whether others would actually believe him. We still have the power to make the Jihadist claim of victory more or less believable.

Yes, some people will believe the Jihadist no matter what - just as some people believed Bush in spite of the evidence. However, the number of people who believe the Jihadists will be important - and it is to our advantage to keep that number low.

Chris: These same comments apply to your statements about insanity. We cannot keep insane people from doing insane things - but insanity comes in degrees. Perhaps we can keep more of the half-lucid people from doing insane things. It is an important variable to keep track of.

For example: one way to pull out of Iraq without giving Al-Quida a victory dance is to increase the resources involved in anti-jihadist efforts elsewhere in proportion to what we withdraw from Iraq. Say, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A 'redeployment' that looks like a retreat is one thing. A 'redeployment' that is clearly a redepoloyment is another.

Is this actually the best plan?

How the heck would I know?

Like I said . . . what I want the Democrats to do is to assure me that they are getting their advice from people who know what they are talking about - and I am not comforted to hear that they are taking their advice from people - many of whom could not find Iraq on a map.

Anonymous said...

And based on what would that person, 'who knew what they were talking about', be chosen? The blind and back alleys, of historical facts concerning the West's encroachments in Iraq, are never presented much less discussed 'on the bus' so we make nonsensical judgements about preventing jihadist's from getting the better of us as if they had any legitimate currency.

Getting entangled in such unnuanced tripe as 'the war on terror', for instance, avoids addressing the only reason(s) the U.S. should simply get out of there - we had no business being there in the first place.

As for generating "a new fighting spirit", should we do so, whoever is left would be fully entitled. We bus riders allowed our hands to be extended into the fire then get righteous over getting burned.

Anonymous said...

Well, the reason why it was such a bad idea to go there in the first place was that there was no good way to get back out. Now we are stuck. No easy answers, no good options, no way out. Of course the jihadists will claim victory, they won. We got our asses handed to us and there is nothing that we can do about it. We can only hope that the Iraqis get themselves together and work this out on their own.