Thursday, September 06, 2007

Just when you thought Mike Huckabee was starting to make sense or at least show some compassion, he pulled us back to reality when the discussion turned to Iraq at last night's Repub Presidential debate, sponsored by GOP TV. Recalling the political hay Rudy G. made when he faced off at an earlier debate and ridiculed Ron Paul's views on Iraq, Huckabee himself provoked Representative Paul on the war:

HUCKABEE: Senator McCain made a great point -- and let me make this clear: If there's anybody on this stage that understands the word honor, I've got to say Senator McCain understands that word...


... because he has given his country a sacrifice the rest of us don't even comprehend.

And on this issue, when he says we can't leave until we've left with honor, I 100 percent agree with him because, Congressman, whether or not we should have gone to Iraq is a discussion the historians can have, but we're there.

We bought it because we broke it. We've got a responsibility to the honor of this country and to the honor of every man and woman who has served in Iraq and ever served in our military to not leave them with anything less than the honor that they deserve.

PAUL: Can I respond...


HUME (?): Go ahead. You wanted to respond. He just addressed you. You go ahead and respond.

PAUL: The American people didn't go in. A few people advising this administration, a small number of people called the neoconservatives hijacked our foreign policy. They're responsible, not the American people. They're not responsible. We shouldn't punish them.


HUCKABEE: Congressman, we are one nation. We can't be divided. We have to be one nation, under God. That means if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country: the United States of America, not the divided states of America.


PAUL: No, when we make a mistake -- when we make a mistake, it is the obligation of the people, through their representatives, to correct the mistake, not to continue the mistake.


So there you have it. We must remain in Iraq. Not because of national security, freedom of the Iraqis, nor (with apologies to delusional non-Zionists) because of Israel. No, more Americans must lose their lives as a sacrifice "to the honor of this country and to the honor of every man and woman who has served in Iraq and ever served in our military."

This is one of the arguments George W. Bush has trotted out to rationalize his war policy and was described originally in the Washington Post, and here reprinted in, by Swarthmore College psychology professor Barry Schwartz as the "sunk-cost fallacy." Schwartz offers these "trivial" examples of the sunk-cost fallacy:
a)You have good tickets to a basketball game an hour drive away. There's a blizzard raging outside and the game is being televised. You can sit warm and safe at home by a roaring fire and watch it on TV, or yo can bundle up, dig out from your car, and go to the game. What do you do?
b)You've ordered too much food at the restaurant and there you are, completely stuffed, with a pile of pasta sitting on your plate. Do you clean your plate or not?

Psychologists and economists, Schwartz states, believe that the "right way to approach questions like these is only by looking to the future" and determining "what will give you more satisfaction." And in Iraq, he deduces, "the best way to show how much we respect and value (those who have died or been injured) is by refraining from sacrificing other lives in their name unless future prospects fully justify putting more people in harm's way."

But- and I don't say this often- credit must go to Mitt Romney. A few moments after the former Massachusetts governor stated "the surge apparently is working," John McCain argued "governor, the surge is working. The surge is working,sir." Romney shot back, "that's just what I said," to which McCain retorted "it is working. No, not 'apparently'; it's working."
It tells you something about the Repub Party, the Repub primary voters in New Hampshire, and, finally, Senator McCain himself, that a politician actually saying (with a straight face) "the surge is working" is deemed insufficiently hawkish. Eventually we'll find whether Romney, who was suggesting that we should approach General Petraeus' upcoming report with an open mind, is regarded as too thoughful by the Pepub electorate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's sad when you have to give credit to Mitt Romney for saying "apparently" because there aren't many other opportunities to give him credit. This tough guy image reminds me all too much of Dick Cheney during his attacks on John Kerry's military background leading up to the 2004 presidential election. Fortunately, NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg defended Kerry by calling Cheney the lead "chickenhawk" against Kerry in a speech next to President Bush's infamous picture on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit. Maybe if McCain isn't elected, "major combat operations" will finally be over in Iraq.

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