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« Reading Chris Anderson | Main | STRAFOR on al Qaeda »

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

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jmsloop

That started off sounding like a new Gil-Scott Heron song. Turn your politics into a new career, Dan!

DeweyS

For those of us who do the mushroom thing until an article on Xark or /. makes us pull our nose out of our work, would you care to share what prompted this rant?

Daniel

I'm not ranting. I'm reminding.

And it wasn't one thing, it was the accumulation of things. Senators. Editorials. Columnists. Bloggers. The meme of the week seemed to be comparing 2006 to 1939 -- which, if you think about it, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if enough people believe it.

The particular danger of this comparison is that once you agree with it, you're generally compelled to take military action. If Iran is the modern Third Reich, knowing what we know now about Germany in 1939, who could argue against attacking them, no matter the cost?

What's difficult about the rhetoric of our current situation is that the alternative to pre-emption isn't appeasement, but containment. Containment worked in Iraq -- how well we didn't REALLY know until after the fall of Baghdad -- but containment just isn't a sexy option. Hawks don't like containment, and doves just want to bring everybody home. Containment is the most rational option, but nobody is passionate about containment as a political position.

If we want reasonable solutions to problems, we can start by insisting on reasoned rhetoric.

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