Wednesday, February 14, 2007

An Important Question

I stumbled across this article this morning, and it's too important not to pass on. Basically, the author, Robert Dreyfuss, considers the conventional wisdom (If we leave Iraq, it will erupt into unimaginable violence) and asks the pertinent question: how do we know?

I won't belabor the point, because he says it better than I could, but the main point underpinning the whole thing is that the falsely optimistic conventional wisdom underlying the start of the Iraq War (greeted as liberators, Iraqi oil will pay for it, etc.) turned out to be wrong. Why is it simply assumed at this point that the extremely pessimistic conventional wisdom is right?

But if it was foolish to accept the best-case assumptions that led us to invade Iraq, it’s also foolish not to question the worst-case assumptions that undergird arguments for staying. Is it possible that a quick withdrawal of U.S. forces will lead to a dramatic worsening of the situation? Of course it is, just as it’s possible that maintaining or escalating troops there could fuel the unrest. But it’s also worth considering the possibility that the worst may not happen: What if the doomsayers are wrong?