25 November 2007


Here is Matthew Yglesias talking about how the question of success in Iraq is being reframed in light of recent successes and failures (all of which is in the context of this NYT article):

...[the surge has] created a situation where it now once again looks -- as it did in 2003 and 2004 -- that we might be able to stay in Iraq forever. And, of course, if you don't consider financial costs to be costs, and don't consider small numbers of casualties to be costs, and don't believe in opportunity costs, and try not to worry to much about the risk of war with Iran, and don't mind the lack of benefits except to the egos of the war's supporters, then this looks like a pretty smart policy.
Certainly, this will continue to look like a smart policy until at least January 20th, 2009, it's just a real question of whether it will continue to look so smart of January 21st. That, of course, depends on who is shacking up in the White House on that point. Given my biases, I fear that for any Republican candidate, particularly Mr. 9/11 Giuliani, it will continue to be the smart policy. Even under Clinton who is constantly afraid of appearing soft on defense, that could appear as a reasonably smart policy. Under Obama, Edwards, or several of the second-tier Democratic candidates, I'm confident that it would be clear that ignoring all of these relevant variables is not smart policy.

Given the irrationality of the American electorate (any electorate, really), it's interesting to wonder how this will turn out.


  1. Are you still eligible to vote? I don't know how that works.

  2. Yeah, still eligible. I just need to register well in advance to make sure that I can send my ballot in early enough. That reminds me... I need to get on that.