Towards A Good Samaritan World

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Economist this week has a cartoon showing Bush in Iraq as a knight (Bush) fighting a dragon (with the word "IRAQ"). Bush is completely dismembered, and the dragon has his horse in its jaws. Bush's head, in a medieval helmet, is being approached by three men representing the Iraq Study Group. "What do you mean, 'My options are limited'?!" asks (the detached head of) Bush.

Very funny, but this has it completely wrong. We had tons of options. This Josh Manchester column, "Go Native," is one of a million think-outside-the-box approaches to Iraq. We could invade Syria, or Iran. We could pull out a lot, or a little. We could send more troops. We could make a comprehensive deal with Iran to scare the Arabs stiff. We could split the country into three and retreat to Kurdistan. We could withdraw US troops from Anbar and pulverize the Sunni West with air power every time a suicide bomber strikes. We could turn all our energies against Sadr, seize him, and prosecute him for genocide. We have lots of options.

We can't establish democracy and civil peace in Iraq; that was always going to depend on factors other than us. Given that limitation, our real problem is we don't know what principles we're supposed to be acting on in this situation. We have too many options, and we lack a way to choose between them.


  • Though I'm with you in general on this post, I do have to point out an important sense in which they're right - the attractive options have all been pared away. Now we aare left to decide which of those remaining is least awful.

    By Blogger Nato, at 5:30 PM  

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