[S]ince they can't point to much affirmative evidence that our presence is actually improving the political situation inside Iraq, they're forced to take the far more extreme position (see Crocker, Ryan, congressional testimony of) that if we leave Iraq the entire Middle East will go up in flames. But despite the fact that the scenario they lay out is almost cartoonishly harrowing, they barely even bother making a case for it. They just treat it as some kind of holy writ. To my ears, though, this sounds not like a sober and even-handed professional assessment, but more like a furious last ditch effort to frighten the public into opposing withdrawal — one that an awful lot of people seem to have accepted pretty uncritically. At the very minimum, though, can we at least have a serious conversation about this instead of simply accepting the maximally hawkish view at face value yet again?Cartoonish indeed. Recently I wrote about how the going into Iraq part of the equation was equally painted with an animated brush, with promises of kisses, being greeted with roses, warm embraces, tears of joy -- "like the scene when Dorothy and gang show up at the Emerald City after killing the witch." These same folks conjure up equally fantastic imagery, only now it's on the gloom-and-doom end of the spectrum. Nothing is ever presented in a remotely serious or professional manner, but rather it's quite scary in its infantile depiction.
As we've come to expect from this administration, the policy has never been about sober, realistic assessment offering the opportunity to adapt and do what's ultimately right. Instead, it's always about Madison Avenue-style selling and pimping to get what they want. In this case, what they want is to dump a disaster and duck blame.