Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Looking Backward

A few hours before George W. Bush plans to slap new lipstick on the old pig of his Iraq war policy, the White House released an 11-page Power Point-style summary [warning: pdf file] for the consumption of gullible journalists. One chart (page 7) is titled "Then and Now."

It bears the imprimatur of the NSA, but actually looks like the creation of some White House PR flunky. Still, the chart inspires an interesting mind game.

Let's call it "Looking Backward" (with apologies to Edward Bellamy's shade.)

Pretend you have just awakened to discover you are the Head of the Free World. It is, say January, 2003.

Suppose the following chart were handed to you along with a proposal from the Vice-President to invade Iraq. Instead of "Then" and "Now" the columns are labeled "Pro" and "Con." (Accept for purposes of the game that there actually was some sort of 'insurgency' in January 2003, as asserted at the top of the "Pro" column.)

After reviewing the "pros and "cons" of war, how would you have decided? Cooperate with Hans Blix or order him to pull out the weapons inspectors because you feel like starting a war?

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