Out of date, now, this was lost in my drafts section. Remember when the now ignored Baker-Hamilton report came out suggesting what we should do in Iraq? I’ve got to hand it to the Bush administration. They got out of that rather well–they simply ignored it. I guess being a lame duck president means that you can just ignore suggestions, public opinion, really anything. It worked for them because the report came and went and no one seems to matter. So while this is a bit silly now, perhaps it serves as a reminder of alternatives, already presented for the quagmire in Iraq. Agree with Rubin or Baker-Hamilton or not, it’s worth considering other ideas.
During NPR’s Talk of the Nation Michael Rubin who is the “resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Former Pentagon policy official and former political adviser to the U.S. occupation authority in Baghdad” explained why he refused to participate when asked for his expert advice during the Iraq Study Group’s research. He claimed he felt he was the “token Neo-Con”.
I find it unlikely that there is a shortage of neo-con views in the current administration, but I am not sure we’re missing much, based on his logic. During his discussion he felt that speaking to Syria and Iran, as suggested by the study, was like rewarding and arsonist. He made this comparison while explaining that since Baker and Hamilton were seeking a consensus they would end up like a person confronted with a hornet’s nest. There are just two things one can do in that situation. Either run away, or knock it down and destroy it. Rubin claims that the Baker-Hamilton conclusion would be to sit underneath the hornet’s nest and tap it gently.
It’s a great analogy. I imagine, either Mr. Rubin is so single minded and unable to see alternatives or he’s really smarter than that and he’s misleading us by pretending that consensus is the same as compromise. A compromise, of course, is what his analogy leads us to. Consensus, unlike compromise, doesn’t mean that we meet in the middle of two opposing solutions, rather, that through discussion and debate, we reach a conclusion that we can all accept, even if some of us don’t actually agree.
Mr. Rubin is offering us the dilemma of false choice–just as President Bush did at the beginning of this war when he said nations were either “with us or against us,” ignoring the concept, for example, of neutrality. Mr. Rubin is hoping his listeners won’t notice the logical fallacy with which he makes his argument. Perhaps they teach this at Neo-Con school, because it seems to be a common argument practice among prominent neo-cons. While it might be effective in stirring up the base supporters, it isn’t getting us anywhere.