Still no volunteers for Thursday Playlists. So: politics.
Do any of our five or so readers still think the U.S. should stay in Iraq longer than the few months it would take to effect an orderly withdrawal? Matt Yglesias offers the following:
I still hear it often said, including by liberal-minded people, that all serious experts agree that we need to stay in Iraq, or even that the consensus on this score is so overwhelming that it’s inevitable that we’ll stay. Neither is true. Quite a lot of who’ve thought deeply about this problem have concluded that the best thing to do is simply to cut our losses and leave.
Read the post. He (and Steven Simon) has the goods.
The most common argument I hear from liberals who are still committed to keeping troops in Iraq is actually the same thing Bush was getting at with his bizarre Vietnam/Cambodia analogy a few weeks ago: that a U.S. pullout would unleash a horrible bloodbath. Well, that’s a possibility, although there are a whole lot of other possible and much less dire outcomes and I’m not in a position to judge their relative likelihood.
But what we do know is that a horrible bloodbath is happening right now in Iraq. One of the most maddening things about the discourse about the war in this country is the tacit denial that, to the best of our knowledge, hundreds of thousands of people have died since the 2003 invasion who would not have died otherwise. See James Wimberley’s post (via Yglesias) on the various studies that have been done, including the infamous Lancet study and others that corroborate it. (This American Life did some very good reporting about the study and why it was ignored.) Conservatives have shouted down the shameful fact of this massive loss of human life; it’s disgraceful that our corporate media have been cowed so much that (as Wimberley shows) the median American underestimates the deaths Bush’s war has caused by almost two orders of magnitude.
But you know, open thread, so speak ye of what you will.