Monday, April 03, 2006

Wankery today: magical thinking

As reported in the online version of Reason, Glenn Reynolds, aka Instantpudding, answers three important questions thusly:
1. Did you support the invasion of Iraq?


2. Have you changed your position?

No. Sanctions were failing and Saddam was a threat, making any other action in the region impossible.

3. What should the U.S. do in Iraq now?


Today's column from the Moustache of Freedom, "Iraq on the precipice of an irreversable sectarian calamity," is the unabridged version of the same nonsense. Tom Friedman uses the first seven paragraphs of his column to breathlessly tell us about how bad things are in Iraq, which is the rough equivalent of George Bush announcing that America is addicted to oil. He's right, just a bit late to the party -- and part of the problem.

Tommy Boy finally notices that sectarian violence has grown ever more virulent and that, "once embedded, this cycle of fear and revenge is almost impossible to break." He notes that "When politicans decide they can get ahead by appealing more to fear than to hope, national reconcilliation goes up in smoke." (Wise words, if he would only follow where they lead, but that is too much to hope for.)

But after using up all that precious real estate telling us that the bed has been well and truly shat, The M.O.F. goes all magical on us:
There is only one hope for halting this slide and that is the formation -- immediately -- of a national unity government in Iraq, with Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds sharing power...
The genus of this kind of irrationality is this: (1) acknowledge facts X,Y,Z that compel repugnant conclusion (A); (2) posit happier conclusion (not-A) is still possible without explicitly acknowledging requirement that (not-A) is possible only if X,Y and Z are not true.

Instantpudding made just as much sense, said exactly the same thing, and had the virtue of brevity.


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