October 22, 2006

Iraqaphobia   - or only taxes & troops are forever

On This Week today, George Will made the remark that it's cold comfort, but conservatives like and appreciate market forces, and market forces are in play in the upcoming election. He says that supply and demand suggests that there is a great demand for fresh thinking on Iraq and it's hard to see Will's comment as inaccurate.

I had the opportunity to hear pollster/pundit Charles Cook speak the other day about how the upcoming Republican debacle in the mid-terms appears to be of historic dimensions. He compared it to a force of nature, a tornado, and that seems an apt analogy since there is an element of irrationality about it: good people are being thrown overboard just because they are, in his words, "wearing the red jersey".

A lesson politicians (we the people?) never learn and it is that it is only with great difficulty that you can ever retire a tax or withdraw your troops. Just can't do it. Thus Bill Clinton promised a withdraw of troops from Bosnia within six months. We're still there. And we're still in Korea. And Afghanistan. The difference is we're not incurring as many casualties in those places, but the lesson remains: it is far easier to go to war or enact a tax then to end a war or halt a tax. It would be far more surprising if we didn't have troops in Iraq now than otherwise.

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