George Will on the Future of Conservatism

George Will spells it out for those of you who have not been paying attention:

he storm-tossed and rudderless Republican Party should particularly ponder the vote last week in Dover, Pa., where all eight members of the school board seeking reelection were defeated. This expressed the community’s wholesome exasperation with the board’s campaign to insinuate religion, in the guise of “intelligent design” theory, into high school biology classes, beginning with a required proclamation that evolution “is not a fact.”

But it is. And President Bush’s straddle on that subject — “both sides” should be taught — although intended to be anodyne, probably was inflammatory, emboldening social conservatives. Dover’s insurrection occurred as Kansas’s Board of Education, which is controlled by the kind of conservatives who make conservatism repulsive to temperate people, voted 6 to 4 to redefine science. The board, opening the way for teaching the supernatural, deleted from the definition of science these words: “a search for natural explanations of observable phenomena.”

“It does me no injury,” said Thomas Jefferson, “for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” But it is injurious, and unneighborly, when zealots try to compel public education to infuse theism into scientific education. The conservative coalition, which is coming unglued for many reasons, will rapidly disintegrate if limited-government conservatives become convinced that social conservatives are unwilling to concentrate their character-building and soul-saving energies on the private institutions that mediate between individuals and government, and instead try to conscript government into sectarian crusades.

Read the whole thing.






49 replies
  1. 1
    SomeCallMeTim says:

    Will is a jackass who hides his ignorance and incoherence behind a passing familiarity with a Word-of-the-Day calendar. (This seems to be a fairly common wingnut phenomenon, so he doesn’t even deserve credit for a novel approach.) If we need him to point out anything important, we are doomed.

  2. 2
    NMI says:

    Wow. Will really gets it. Starting in ’76, I’ve been a conservative Republican, rarely voting for Democrats. But I will never again vote for any Republican who hasn’t demonstrated a pattern of independence from the theocratic element of the party.

    Does that mean I’d vote for Hillary over Frist? Yes, heaven help me.

  3. 3
    ppGaz says:

    Give me acetaminophen. Please.

    First of all, Will is a whore who has carried the water for these turds for 20 years. Now he has buyer’s remorse? Boo frigging hoo.

    Second, spare me these crocodile tears over “conservative” disarray, when the really big fuckup is still on the table.

    You know the one I mean, it’s the “I” word. That goes for you, and Will, and every other blabbing head out there.

    Show some stones on that issue, show that the GOP can be the great party it pretended to be, and take some damned responsbility. Take responsibility for the war, for the sale of the soul of the part to the devil of the right wing “christian” nutjobs, for the sale of votes using the budget pork trough ….. then let’s talk.

    Until then, stew in your own juices, all of you.

  4. 4
    Davebo says:

    George Will is singularly responsible for keeping me firmly in the Republican camp.

    That and he also delivers my pizzas.

  5. 5
    Mike S says:

    John, you should check out this diary over at dKos. It’s a letter from an ex-Bishop of Newark NJ in response to a question about Pat Robertson.

    Here is just a small sample.

    Second, someone needs to inform Pat Robertson that the idea of God sitting on a throne above the clouds manipulating the weather in order to punish sinners is so primitive and so naïve that it is staggering to the educated imagination. It is bad enough that his mind cannot embrace the thought of Charles Darwin from the 19th century, but Pat has yet to embrace the thought of Copernicus from the 16th century or Galileo from the 17th century.

    No educated person today believes that the earth is the center of the universe and that God lives above the sky, playing with low-pressure systems and planning revenge on those who are not believers in Intelligent Design. Indeed why would anyone be drawn to the demonic deity who emerges in Pat’s thinking and teaching?

  6. 6
    neil says:

    Boy, it sure doesn’t take much for a political party to be storm-tossed, rudderless, lost in the wilderness, etc, etc.

  7. 7
    John Cole says:

    You folks will just lash out at anyone on the other side, won’t you. if you thin will has just been ‘carrying their water’ for years, you have not been paying attention to Will.

    And the fact is, we simply disagree with you that everything is fucked up and lost in Iraq. There have been mistakes and drawbacks and there are tough days ahead, but it is not the quagmire you seem eager to portray it as.

  8. 8
    Steve S says:

    I speak to God all the time, and he’s never mentioned Pat Robertson to me.

  9. 9
    Steve S says:

    You folks will just lash out at anyone on the other side, won’t you. if you thin will has just been ‘carrying their water’ for years, you have not been paying attention to Will.

    Actually I read Will’s column pretty much weekly.

    If the Republican party were as he describes it, I would probably be a Republican. Sadly, I think he’s just naive.

    Go right back to Scanlon’s memo… The Republican party panders to the wackos so they can get the votes, and they can pass the awful bills. That’s what this is all about. The Republicans think ID is harmless, so they use it. Just as they think a flag burning amendment is harmless. Or gay bashing is harmless. Or Terri Schiavo is harmless. Any number of these issues that they think they can use to drive a wedge into the voting booths.

    The really odd thing is. I’m extremely socially conservative. I actually agree with the Republicans on most of these issues. I just don’t think the state should be mandating that crap. That’s the only thing that holds me back from the edge of the precipice that would make me carry water for the Republican party.

  10. 10
    searp says:

    While everyone is lambasting the theocons, the real Republicans (corporate execs) are diverting our tax dollars into their pockets and writing legislation to keep their corporate bonuses on track at our expense. Can you say “privatization”?

    “Entitlements” that go to actual private citizens are bad, cuts in corporate and capital gains taxes are good… for the investing class.

    The future of conservatism is Jack Abramoff, not George Will.

  11. 11
    Pb says:

    Let me know when you think it’s a quagmire. How about an undeclared civil war–does that sound better?

  12. 12
    srv says:

    You folks will just lash out at anyone on the other side, won’t you. if you thin will has just been ‘carrying their water’ for years, you have not been paying attention to Will.

    And the fact is, we simply disagree with you that everything is fucked up and lost in Iraq. There have been mistakes and drawbacks and there are tough days ahead, but it is not the quagmire you seem eager to portray it as.

    John, you haven’t been paying attention. Will wants his cake and eat it too. And there’s no ‘simply’ about it. Everyone could agree about Iraq tomorrow, and it wouldn’t make any difference now. The hate party has made sure of that.

    ppGaz has the stew right. The right never hesitates to paint everyone else with broad strokes and now that it’s getting unseemly, they’re finding their ‘values’. The socialcons have y’all by the balls, and you deserve the agony you have sown.

  13. 13
    jg says:

    Does that mean I’d vote for Hillary over Frist? Yes, heaven help me.

    I’d vote Bush a third term before I’d vote for Frist.

    I used to read Will, it helped me feel clean after reading too much Atrios and Ameriblog but he lost me completely with an article before the election when he said Bush should be re-elected so he can do all the things he said he’d do in the first term. WTF? I swear most republican columnists give me the impression they are talking down to me.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    metalgrid says:

    There’s a reason why Republicans have to go after the theocrats for their base. Gullibility has a lot to do with it. I mean, who else will believe the Republicans when they say they stand for fiscal responsibility, smaller government and individual liberty?

  16. 16
    ppGaz says:

    You folks will just lash out at anyone on the other side, won’t you. if you thin will has just been ‘carrying their water’ for years, you have not been paying attention to Will.

    And the fact is, we simply disagree with you that everything is fucked up and lost in Iraq. There have been mistakes and drawbacks and there are tough days ahead, but it is not the quagmire you seem eager to portray it as.

    That’s beyond silly. I’ve been reading Will for what seems like about 20 years, more or less. He’s a whore who would gin up a pseud-intellectual argument for any crap put forth by the Republicans about 97% of the time. He’s a pompous ass. One can go back and watch the tapes of his appearances with David Brinkley on the Sunday morning thing and just laugh out loud at the asinine things he would say. But hey, that’s just me. I’m sure you are right about everything.

    As for the war … what do you think a war where almost 2/3 of the people think it was “not worth it” and we should not stay in, is, if not a quagmire? Are you going to join Tall Dave, Darrell and Mac Buckets in declaring that the people are too stupid to figure out what is going on here? Your attack-dog VP has 29% out there who think he is honest and ethical. Your party has every instrument of government and can’t govern. Iraq has no army with which to defend itself … roughly the same state it was in on the DAY WE INVADED. Close a billion dollars a week is going down that rathole, and we have no control at all over what that country will be doing three years from now. None. Americans don’t feel that they are being made safer. They don’t think that they were told the truth in the runup to war. They don’t trust their government officials.

    It’s not a quagmire? Fine, call it any damned thing you want. Call it a picnic or a Great Liberation. Call it Fred. The reality is, your guys have fucked it up and nobody has the balls to take responsibility for it.

    But, keep flogging that dead horse, man. Please, don’t stop, if feels so good.

  17. 17
    Pb says:

    jg,

    when he said Bush should be re-elected so he can do all the things he said he’d do in the first term. WTF?

    Ha ha. Excellent point.

    I got that same impression from Pat Buchanan, when he’d talk about how Bush had screwed up, both with Iraq and here at home with our finances–so… vote for him anyway. Weakest and stupidest ‘endorsement’ I ever saw.

    Incidentally, I’d love it if Bush would stand by what he said in his year 2000 campaign with respect to military force. Never gonna happen.

    MODERATOR: New question. How would you go about as president deciding when it was in the national interest to use U.S. force, generally?
    BUSH: Well, if it’s in our vital national interest, and that means whether our territory is threatened or people could be harmed, whether or not the alliances are — our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. That would be a time to seriously consider the use of force. Secondly, whether or not the mission was clear. Whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be. Thirdly, whether or not we were prepared and trained to win. Whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy. I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don’t think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we’ve got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place. So I would take my responsibility seriously. And it starts with making sure we rebuild our military power. Morale in today’s military is too low. We’re having trouble meeting recruiting goals. We met the goals this year, but in the previous years we have not met recruiting goals. Some of our troops are not well-equipped. I believe we’re overextended in too many places.

    And, yes, there’s more where that came from. Too much for me to debunk point-by-point, but suffice it to say, there’s a huge minefield of broken promises in there.

  18. 18
    Paddy O'Shea says:

    Ahhh, to see the split between the fundie Republicans and those more attuned to life her on Earth growing ever wider warms my heart.

    Pat Robertson 2008

  19. 19
    jcricket says:

    While everyone is lambasting the theocons, the real Republicans (corporate execs) are diverting our tax dollars into their pockets and writing legislation to keep their corporate bonuses on track at our expense. Can you say “privatization”?

    “Entitlements” that go to actual private citizens are bad, cuts in corporate and capital gains taxes are good… for the investing class.

    Yes, it’s this type of devil’s alliance, between the Norquists and the Dobson’s that allows Republicans to win elections. If the “Libertarian”/Small Government wing of the Republican party stopped voting Republican because they were uncomfortable with the theo-cons agenda, Republicans would never win again.

    Conversely, if the small government conservatives kicked out the socially conservative portion of their agenda (i.e. “leave people be”, or “let the states decide”), the fundies would have to decide whether to start their own party or vote for people who aren’t promoting their agenda anymore.

    You can’t blame people who vote Democrat or Green or Libertarian or Socialist for the mess we’re in. All of those represent a clear vote against the social conservative party platform of the Republican party. The strength of the far religious right is a direct result of the faustian bargain that small government conservatives have made with the religious right.

  20. 20
    Columnists says:

    Ya, but does God talk back…..

    Anyways we are in hell damned on earth and the aliens are creations of Satan and same with the technology he sent, so everybody denies UFOs because its Satan and we are in hell. So, its combination of evolution and God who designed this hell for us and slowly we got damned by Lucifer to dream and now everybody is hearing voices and seeing with their eyes closed, so dont give me dreaming is not a disease because Im seeing sh** when I close my eyes, so go figure.

  21. 21
    Davebo says:

    quag·mire ( P ) Pronunciation Key (kwgmr, kwg-)
    n.
    Land with a soft muddy surface.

    A difficult or precarious situation; a predicament.

    Guess it depends on the definition of the word “is”.

  22. 22
    Perry Como says:

    if the small government conservatives kicked out the socially conservative portion of their agenda

    They would get my vote in Federal elections.

  23. 23
    SeesThroughIt says:

    I speak to God all the time, and he’s never mentioned Pat Robertson to me.

    God and I were in the record store the other day–God scored a mint copy of Tony Avlon’s “Sexy Coffee Pot,” the lucky jerk–and God happened to mention Pat. To be fair, though, he said, “Boy, that Pat Robertson sure is a stupid asshole, huh? Sorry about inflicting him on you. I’ll make it up to you somehow.”

    Pb: Did you ever see the “Bush vs. Bush” debate on The Daily Show? They had Bush the presidential cadidate debate Bush the president via a series of clips from debates and press conferences. Funny how Bush the president is almost the exact opposite of what Bush the candidate said Bush the president would be.

  24. 24
    Andrei says:

    And the fact is, we simply disagree with you that everything is fucked up and lost in Iraq. There have been mistakes and drawbacks and there are tough days ahead, but it is not the quagmire you seem eager to portray it as.

    Now you’ve stepped in it.

    But rather than tell you are wrong and why I think so… why don’t you write up a lengthy post as to *why* you don’t think Iraq is a quagmire, while also doing us the favor of illucidating what Iraq will look like in 2008 or so when we’ll supposedly have won and Iraq will be functioning on its own?

    I double dare you.

  25. 25
    John S. says:

    You folks will just lash out at anyone on the other side, won’t you.

    I feel for you, John. If the day ever comes (heaven forbid) that the Democrats screw the pooch on as many levels as your Republican party has, I think I could appreciate exactly how you must be feeling these days.

    Of course, a lot of this is just the crows coming home to roost from the way Republicans behaved during Clinton’s second term – though I don’t think acting purely on retaliation has any merit.

    But man, karma sure is a bitch, isn’t she?

  26. 26
    Pb says:

    SeesThroughIt,

    Yes, that was a brilliant montage, the likes of which you will never see in conventional news reportage. Which I find amusing because just recently I saw a TV news station (well ok, it was actually Hardball on MS-NBC, 11/11/05) running two clips of Cheney back-to-back: the one where he denied saying something (“I never said that”), and the one where he said it (“pretty well confirmed”). The amusing part? I saw those same two clips over a year previously (6/21/04), on The Daily Show.

  27. 27
    Kimmitt says:

    Shorter George Will:

    Remember, the deal is that we make nice with the “wackos,” but never, ever give them any substantive policy victories. This keeps them angry and voting, and it keeps us from looking bad. Eyes on the ball.

  28. 28
    Andrei says:

    I feel for you, John. If the day ever comes (heaven forbid) that the Democrats screw the pooch on as many levels as your Republican party has, I think I could appreciate exactly how you must be feeling these days.

    I won’t. I have yet to understand how it is people in this country associate themselves with party first then country. (Not to say you do, but the problem you describe generally stems from that association and order of priorities. IMHO)

    It’s the other way around. It should always be the other way around and one’s emotions and rationale should follow that way as well.

    You vote for whomever you think can do the job, not because they’ve ascribed themselves to some sort of label that you think you belong to. It’s not something that defines you personally. It’s a vote. An action that gives us power to choose our leaders and nothing more. And in cases where there are candidates who don’t seem best suited for the job, you vote whomever sucks less unfortunately. but it doesn’t mean that that’s who you are at your very core.

    I’ve never registered as a Dem or GOP. I refuse to. I don’t beleive in political parties in the same way I don’t believe in Christian demonimations. They are pointless exercises in creating false power strutures to keep the sheep in line. I beleive in people. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s how we should vote.

    If the Dems get into power and fuck it up as bad as the GOP is currently doing, I’ll be the first to offer to kick their ass out of the door. And I won’t feel two bits bad or otherwise about it.

  29. 29
    Faux News says:

    ppGaz:

    Didn’t George Will coach Ronny Reagan for the 1980 debate?

  30. 30
    ppGaz says:

    I won’t. I have yet to understand how it is people in this country associate themselves with party first

    I won’t either. If anyone who is “paying attention” (to use John’s phrase) hasn’t figured out by now that these assholes in the White House are all about themselves, all about self-justification, all about arrogance, perfectly content to take office on the presumption of having told half of their own country to go take a flying leap on social issues of great concern, all about power and the maintenance thereof, all about politicizing 911 and the perma-war they thought they’d get away with, all about the cronyism and the unnecessary secrecy and the assaults on liberty with the foolish Patriot Act, all about phony security with their Department of Homeland Color Codes …. and still, even now, are bending over three ways to help these bastards slide it into us YET AGAIN ….

    Screw ’em. Really, just screw ’em.

  31. 31
    pmm says:

    Ppgaz, I remember your joke in an earlier comment thread that you’re confining yourself to moderate dudgeon these days. I really want to see some high dudgeon!

  32. 32
    Steve S says:

    Oh hell the GSAVE/GWOT is a Quagmire. It started 9/11/01… over 4 years ago. We’ve been in Iraw 2.5 years.

    We joined WII in January of 1942… 2.5 years later we were invading Normandy, and 4 years later we had signed unconditional surrender agreements from the Japanese and Nazis.

    The problem isn’t the soldiers… It’s the war plan. They don’t have one.

  33. 33
    ppGaz says:

    High dudgeon is for ladies who start writing a check in the grocery line only AFTER their order is rung up.

  34. 34
    pmm says:

    Ppgaz, I like to think of your high dudgeon as frenetic profanity-laced Daffy Duck-style sputtering that causes nearby plants to wilt, dogs to howl, the sky to darken and my computer to begin vibrating somehow.

  35. 35
    John S. says:

    Andrei-

    I agree with you, actually.

    I have yet to understand how it is people in this country associate themselves with party first then country.

    I am a registered Democrat, but I have voted for Republicans when I have had reason to do so. I certainly do not restrict myself to voting for Democrats, and my lifetime voting is probably around 75/25 in favor of Democrats.

    My comment to John was more along the lines that when the party whose candidates you feel reasonably comfortable voting for turns to shit, there is little solace in knowing that the other choice may be someone whom you despise even more.

    How do you comfortably choose between shitty and shittier?

    If the Dems get into power and fuck it up as bad as the GOP is currently doing, I’ll be the first to offer to kick their ass out of the door. And I won’t feel two bits bad or otherwise about it.

    As would I. But it would be accompanied by a pang of pain -as I think John is experiencing – knowing that there isn’t much of an alternative.

  36. 36
    Jimmy Jazz says:

    And the fact is, we simply disagree with you that everything is fucked up and lost in Iraq. There have been mistakes and drawbacks and there are tough days ahead, but it is not the quagmire you seem eager to portray it as.

    Wahahaha. Aye, aye Lieutenant Gorman!

  37. 37
    pmm says:

    Andrei wrote:

    why don’t you write up a lengthy post as to why you don’t think Iraq is a quagmire, while also doing us the favor of illucidating what Iraq will look like in 2008 or so when we’ll supposedly have won and Iraq will be functioning on its own?

    Is there anything Mr. Cole or anyone else could propose that would enable you to change your mind about Iraq? At this point, we’ve looked at the same evidence and drawn different conclusions. It’s not willful blindness, we’ve simply assigned differing priorities through our decision-making process.

  38. 38
    ppGaz says:

    Ppgaz, I like to think of your high dudgeon as frenetic profanity-laced Daffy Duck

    Don’t be thilly.

  39. 39
    tzs says:

    Reading George Will, why am I reminded of Captain Renault’s “I’m shocked, simply SHOCKED, to find gambling going on here!”

    He who decides to ride the tiger may not find it so easy to get off….

  40. 40
    Steve S says:

    Is there anything Mr. Cole or anyone else could propose that would enable you to change your mind about Iraq? At this point, we’ve looked at the same evidence and drawn different conclusions. It’s not willful blindness, we’ve simply assigned differing priorities through our decision-making process.

    Agreed. Some people have willfully chosen to blindly follower their leadership hoping above all hopes that they have a plan.

    The rest of us saw that their plan was scratched out on the back of a Bazooka Joe wrapper.

    But you know, I would certainly enjoy hearing a definitive justification for the war rather than all the whining we’ve been seeing here lately.

  41. 41
    Flint says:

    Folks…

    Tomorrow is the vote on the UNPATRIOTIC ACT.

    The conference was a sham and its worse than ever, so if you haven’t called then get up off your butts, stop “snarking” on the blogs and act!

    Patriot Act conferees have reached a tentative agreement on Patriot Act reauthorization, and the House and Senate are likely to vote Friday.

    The bill fails to protect your civil liberties and the Fourth Amendment right to privacy because it allows the government to continue to obtain your private records even without any evidence linking them to a suspected terrorist.

    Tell both of your senators and your representative that the conference report completely disregards the concerns of their constituents because it does nothing meaningful to fix Sections 215 and Sections 505, the controversial records search and national security letter (NSLs) provisions of the Patriot Act.

    Urge them to stand up for Americans’ constitutional freedoms by voting against this conference report.

    Conferees rejected the opportunity to protect Americans’ fundamental freedoms when they failed to include any of the sensible privacy protections contained in the Senate reauthorization bill in their conference report.

    Recent revelations of the FBI’s violations of secret surveillance laws and their rampant issue of NSLs to ordinary Americans prove that Sections 215 and 505 should be amended to require a connection between an individual’s private records and a suspected terrorist, not left unchanged to allow continued unwarranted government fishing expeditions.

    Tell Congress that you are outraged that some conferees have turned a blind eye to the recently documented abuses of the government’s expanded Patriot Act powers. Encourage Congress to fight for the will of the American people by voting no on the conference report instead of bowing to pressures from the Administration.

    Call Congress at:

    (202) 224-3121

    Urge your Senators and Representatives to vote NO on the PATRIOT Conference Report.

  42. 42
    srv says:

    Flint, your choice on the Patriot Act renewal was made when you voted. Did you vote for the Libertarian?

  43. 43
    ppGaz says:

    Some people have willfully chosen to blindly follower their leadership hoping above all hopes that they have a plan.

    It’s called “magical thinking.”

  44. 44
    Andrei says:

    Is there anything Mr. Cole or anyone else could propose that would enable you to change your mind about Iraq?

    Absolutely. Links and data to support the predicted outcome. Thoughts and strategies on how the next three years would be different from the last three years. Strategies on how to handle the insurgency problem and a real danger as the transition occurs from the withdrawl of our armed forces from the region. Data and reports on how to handle the infrastructure problem in Iraq, and an idea of when the lights will finally be back on permanently. And above all, how all those in pro-war movement expect to see this particular administration execute on this winning strategy when they’ve failed time and again to not only plan properly for this war, but have not given the public the whole truth with regard to most information regarding why we are fighting it.

    The insurgency is in its last throes, remember? Yeah… no more of that bullshit.

  45. 45

    George Will has a message for Rep. Bosma

    (h/t Balloon Juice) — George Will has a message that Rep. Bosma and others who seek to introduce Intelligent Design into our school science classes would do well to heed. he storm-tossed and rudderless Republican Party should particularly ponder the…

  46. 46
    metalgrid says:

    srv Says:
    Flint, your choice on the Patriot Act renewal was made when you voted. Did you vote for the Libertarian?
    November 17th, 2005 at 8:28 pm

    lol

  47. 47
    ppGaz says:

    Is there anything Mr. Cole or anyone else could propose that would enable you to change your mind about Iraq?

    Probably not.

    First, there is nothing anyone can say which would change the reality that existed in 2002. While others may have seen, and may continue to see, that reality in a way which justifies the war, the fact is, those perceptions are wrong. The putative threat did not exist, and there is no excuse for the fact the government apparently thought it did. That’s gross incompetance at best, and it’s a firing offense.

    Second, putting aside the threat issue — the fact that WMDs were not there — there is the magical thinking issue. Assumptions about the outcome in Iraq after regime change were based on nothing but the egos of the people making the assumptions. No historical or empirical evidence existed then, or exists now, to support those assumptions. They rest on proof by assertion.

    Both of these issues are deal breakers. Either of them by itself is enough to throw out the appeal, and then to throw out this government for putting us in this position.

    Nothing else is relevant. “Better off without Saddam” is not relevant, because it would not have been a cause suffient to move this country to war in 2002. The people of this country did not raise their families in order to offer them up to the government for the purpose of improving Iraq.

  48. 48
    pmm says:

    Andrei, I appreciate your response, but there’s no point in my presenting/defending the administration’s Iraq policy with predictions or data, since we lack the shared assumptions that even allow us to discuss the policy. Debating the merits of say, the constitutional process, is worthless if we can’t even agree on the goal of the project.

    My question could be rephrased: what possible benefits could justify the war to you? Since we disagree on even that, there’s no point in my defending the plan, since I’m defending the policy with the expectation that it will get us to condition A, while you want a plan that results in condition B. And it’s quite possible that condition B is no longer attainable without a time machine…

    For example, one common metric for our mission has been US casualties. Suppose I say that the plan entails keeping US casualties below 5,000 by 2008–complete with fancy graphs, historical allusions, and links to distinguished sources. I say that this is an acceptable rate of casualties given the benefits of staying in Iraq. As Ppgaz has noted elsewhere on this blog, that already counts as an insufficient plan for him because he doesn’t think 2,000 casualties is worth the benefits–which isn’t that surprising since he doesn’t expect the same benefits from OIF that I do. It’s not like Ppgaz hasn’t seen the same data that I have, he simply disagrees on its merit versus the cost.

    In short, you already know the plan, you’re real disagreement is with the planners on what we’re trying to achieve.

  49. 49
    Larry says:

    “Captain, we’ve run aground.”

    Captain W, “Full speed ahead!”

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. George Will has a message for Rep. Bosma

    (h/t Balloon Juice) — George Will has a message that Rep. Bosma and others who seek to introduce Intelligent Design into our school science classes would do well to heed. he storm-tossed and rudderless Republican Party should particularly ponder the…

Comments are closed.