Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reverse Gravitus

When advocates of a policy stance get riled, they put together a letter and then get a bunch of people to sign the letter to show how broad the support is, how wise the letter is given how smart and prestigious the signers are.  The whole idea of imprimatur is that adding big names to the letter makes the letter seem more legitimate.

So, this exemplar du jour raises a bunch of questions for me:
  • How unaware are the organizers of the credibility black holes known as Doug Feith (seen by many as semi-responsible for many of the early horrible decisions/implementations of the Iraq war); L. Paul Bremer (whose Coalition Provisional Authority was better known as Can't Produce Anything but more insurgency by firing the Iraqi military) and Robert MacFarlane (Iran-Contra, anyone)?  What value do these guys add? Ok, what positive value do these guys add to such a letter?   Hey, we blew it the last time we were responsible for US policy in the Mideast but trust us now?  Oy freakin' vey!
  • Perhaps the organizers are not clueless but powerless?  That Doug, Jerry and Bob (and yes, I am using over-familiarity with first names because I do have just a wee bit of contempt for these folks) found out about the letter, and the organizers did not have the heart or will to keep them out of the meeting/club/whatever. 
  • Were any of the signers of this letter advocating safe zones alive and awake in 1994-95?  Srebrenica mean anything to them?
  • Are they unfamiliar with the fact that the US is already way over the war cap?  Hey, if they want a war, could they please tell us all how the US should pay for it?  The days of freebie wars are long gone.  
Syria is a hard problem with many complicating dynamics--Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, chemical weapons, Russia, and so on.  But thinking about complicated stuff is not the strength of some of these signers.  Saddam Hussein is dead, so Iraq was a success and that is the end of it.

Would I like to see the US intervene to stop the Syrians from shedding heaps of blood?  Hell, yes.  But wishing and wanting are not = good policy.  What the US can do and what we want it to do are two different things.  Until the advocates of a more aggressive effort can tell us how to pay for the effort, how to manage the post-Assad situation and so on, I will simply make fun of them for including such profound foreign policy failures on their list of august advocates of aggression.

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