WHY ARE WE LISTENING TO THIS MAN?

WHY ARE WE LISTENING TO THIS MAN? In pointing us to this remarkable construction of ice cream castles in the air and destruction of strawmen by Frederick Kagan and Kenneth Pollack at AEI, Yglesias asks: "Whether the Kagan-Pollack meeting of the minds enhances Kagan's credibility or detracts from Pollack's I'll leave as an exercise to the reader." My question: what credibility on Iraq could Pollack possibly have left to lose at this point?

As Matt says, Pollack's remarks consist of a very convincing explanation of why the inevitable chaos in Iraq is going to be a disaster with considerable regional spillover, which constitutes excellent evidence for the foolishness and hubris of the war's advocates but is neither here not there in terms of demonstrating the viability of avoiding such an outcome. Pollack's conclusion, however, sums up the evasiveness and blame-shifting of the pro-war dead-enders effectively:

At the end of the day, walking away from Iraq or even trying to contain it would be a grand social science experiment. Given the history out there, again, I cannot demonstrate´┐Ż I cannot prove to you that social science experiment would fail catastrophically. But the risks, the warnings of history are stark enough to me, that I would really prefer not to find out.

So trying to contain the damage from Pollack's pet catastrophe would be a "grand [and implicitly unwise] social science experiment." And razing a government in the baseless hope that a stable pro-American government would magically arise in its place, and then trusting proven incompetents to implement a somewhat modified (and completely non-viable) version of a strategy that isn't working and shows no signs whatsoever of working, and that involves immense costs in lives, money, and military strength isn't? This is supposed to be an argument worthy of further discussion at liberal think tanks?

--Scott Lemieux

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