HOPE IS A PLAN! And according to Officer Kyle Teamey, so is posturing. That, after all, seems to be what his op-ed suggests we do. "In this fight, the appearance of strength or weakness is often much more important than actual strength or weakness." So we must appear strong. "While debate over a war's merits -- and whether to withdraw -- is a sign of a healthy democracy, Iraq unfortunately highlights many of the difficulties a democracy faces in a long-term counterinsurgency or nation-building campaign. Such debate can be detrimental to the battle for perceptions." So we must not debate withdrawal. Etc, etc.

This is one of the more interesting strategies you see used against war critics, and it's always struck me as the Iraq-version of The Secret: It suggests that what we say will become reality, so we can't say anything negative. It doesn't try and argue that the negative things aren't happening, or that the analysis of the critics is wrong, it just implies that such statements make things worse and so anyone hoping for success -- no matter their estimation of its likelihood -- should stop honestly evaluating the situation out loud. The effect of this, of course, would be a continued deployment, as you can't withdraw troops if you're not allowed to say it's time to withdraw troops.

--Ezra Klein