kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


This is all pretty new to me, and since no one is actually looking at this--we are all bloggers, few of us are readers--then it probably makes little difference.

These days, when I hear the news, the phrase "hell in a handbasket" keeps going through my mind. Our President, peace be upon him, seems to have had nothing but resolve in going into Iraq to get the terrorists (although they were, evidently, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Madrid, London, and Pyongyang), and has nothing but resolve in "staying the course." I have a couple or three questions for my non-readers not to answer:

a) what constitutes "victory" in Iraq?
b) what constitutes "victory" in the Global War on Terror?
c) if staying leads to an unsustainable situation--increasing violence, a greater likelihood of civil war, and general unrest with guns and bombs--and leaving leads to an unsustainable situation, and we must either stay or leave, then isn't the conclusion of this simple constructive dilemma pretty easy to identify? Should we be able to criticize our illustrious maximum leader for generating this dilemma, without being accused, as a Leninist might put it, of being "objectively pro-terrorist"?

Otherwise, the Cardinals continue to roll.

For those not reading this, you will fail to realize that this here blog will focus on three basic things: politics, baseball, and music. And whatever else I feel like talking about.



Blogger Bobcat said...

In asnwer to your questions...

a) What constitutes "victory" in Iraq? Well, I don't know what constitutes "victory", but here's a shot at what could reasonably constitute victory: Iraq becomes a stable, functioning democracy on about the level of Israel (you can make all the anti-Israel jokes you want, but if you think Israel is undemocratic by Middle East standards, well ... uh ... I strongly disagree). This, of course, would take a number of years--maybe decades--if it happens at all.

Alternatively, if there are clear indications that Iraq is on the path to democracy (let's say that insurgency attacks are way down and remain that way for a number of years; Iraq has a semi-functioning police force; and they get basic infrastructure set up in most of the country), then we could leave feeling that we've come pretty close to achieving victory.

b) What constitutes "victory" in the Global War on Terror? Why the scarequotes with 'victory'? It's not like you're asking about the definition from someone who obviously has self-serving motives in answering the way she does; you're asking some possibilia, a.k.a. your non-existent, but potential, readers. Anyway, victory in the war on terror would be achieved if the Western world reasonably expected very low likelihood of terrorist attacks from well-organized terrorist groups. I think that the only way such nations could feel this way and be justified would be if most of the Middle East were democratic.

c) If staying leads to an unsustainable situation--increasing violence, a greater likelihood of civil war, and general unrest with guns and bombs--and leaving leads to an unsustainable situation, and we must either stay or leave, then isn't the conclusion of this simple constructive dilemma pretty easy to identify? Two responses: one reason to stay would be to minify (to use a choice word of a professor from my alma mater) the casualties that would result from such a bloodbath (that is, both situations might be bloodbaths, but staying might make for less of a bloodbath); another reason to stay might be to prevent further terrorist attacks elsewhere. If we leave Iraq in such a way that it looks like we've gotten our butts kicked, that might embolden terrorists in a serious way, thereby making us less safe. (So, in a sense, the war might very well have made us less safe, at least in the short term.)

3:49 AM  
Blogger kmosser said...

All fair points. So, naturally, I shall disagree.

From what little I know, activities of political opponents which could easily be characterized as "terrorism" have been going on since, well, since there were political opponents. So the likelihood of that being eliminated, or minified--a word I know from a colleage who is a world-famous Leibniz scholar and almost as famously earnest--seems to me to be a pipe dream. Pessimistic or realistic?

Your account of what victory in Iraq would like is also a nice story; it sounds sort of like a Rumsfeld quote, only in English. Again, I'm all for democracy (and not the one dollar, one vote kind); but I'm also pessimistic enough to think it much more likely that we have set up problems with Syria and Turkey when Kurdistan declares its independence, a never-ending "insurgency" from a minority that is well-funded and motivated, and a government that has a number of reasons to think allying with its fellow religionists in Tehran will be to its advantage.

Won't this be fun to see how it plays out?

I appreciate the thoughtful comments. You sound as if you received a top-notch undergraduate education.

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