THE DREAMLIFE OF DEAD-ENDERS. Via K. Drum, I see that Jonah Goldberg (just like Josh Trevino) asserts that Bush is superior to his critics because at least he's "forthrightly trying to win a war." Kevin deals with the first problem with Goldberg's argument, which is claiming contradictions in the Democratic position that don't exist. But, in addition, it should be noted that in absence of any viable plan to achieve his goals, the credit due to Bush for thinking it would be desirable to win is absolutely nil. If your local battered women's shelter phones to say that they could provide beds for everyone with a $200 donation, and you decide to take the money and spend it on a Joel Schumacher DVD box set instead, you don't get any extra moral credit because you think that it would be really nice if the shelter had enough beds. The disagreement between Bush and his critics is not over whether "winning" (whatever this even means -- people making this argument generally keep the contours vague to make the goalposts easier to shift later) is preferable to losing, but whether winning is possible, and more importantly whether Bush's plan actually makes winning more likely. Moreover, while wishes are totally free, Bush's policies are not. To give Bush credit for "wanting to win" when his policies have no discernible chance of producing a better outcome and entail an immense toll in ended (and ruined) lives and wasted resources is obscene. Hope in the absence of achievable goals is not a moral virtue, and in this specific case is a considerable vice.

--Scott Lemieux

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