Chuck Spinney Sends….
Last night President Obama crossed the Rubicon and made the Afghan War his war. Will this decision come back to haunt him? Juan Cole argues that this is likely to be the case, because Obama’s escalation decision is based on a flawed analogy.
Reasoning by analogy is powerful albeit particularly dangerous form of thinking. A valid analogy can unleash the creative mind to see new connections that were previously not seen, but a false analogy can capture the imagination and cause one to see and believe visions of things as they are not. False analogies are perhaps the most powerful mental engine for taking an otherwise rational decision maker off the cliff. Nevertheless, The courtiers in the Court of Versailles on the Potomac, addicted as they are to snappy sound bytes, love analogies, the more simple minded the snapping sound, the better.
Juan Cole, professor of modern Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan
author of widely read blog Informed Comment explains how Obama has been taken to the cleaners and induced to bet his Presidency by buying into the fatally flawed Beltway Consensus that (1) the Iraq Surge was an unambiguous success and (2) its corollary, namely the analogy to Afghanistan that posits a similar kind of surge will produce a similar “success” in Afghanistan. Cole makes his argument by using the simple technique of describing and comparing likenesses and differences, something Obama and his advisors should have done.
Phi Beta Iota: The Salon story is complemented by the below blog from the same author.
10. The biggest threat of derailment comes from an American public facing 17 percent true unemployment and a collapsing economy who are being told we need to spend an extra $30 billion to fight less than 100 al-Qaeda guys in the mountains of Afghanistan, even after the National Security Adviser admitted that they are not a security threat to the US.
Phi Beta Iota: Buckminster Fuller observed that the White House is nothing more than theater. He said this in the 1970’s, no doubt inspired by Jimmy Carter doing his best and Zbigniew Brzezinski doing his worst. The reality is that absent a public intelligence capability that can credibly challenge the advice being given to the President by those with arguably good intentions but very very bad narrow falwed understandings of reality, Bush is Obama, Rove is Axelrod, and Cheney is Emanuel. Nothing has changed. We need to FREE OBAMA.