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Monday, December 05, 2005

Bush does believe in timetables

In Iraq, the political timetables have been repeatedly met, as this Chalabi interview points out. These political timetables have been the elections, which President Bush has pushed hard for - unlike John Kerry and others in the punditocracy. Their arguments can be boiled down to this: a sort of Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs exists at the national level which demands the complete defeat of the enemy before democratic forms can be considered. Incidentally, this is a typical argument of dictators the world over, but that's a topic for another post.

The thing these guys don't realize is a thing that anyone who has ever managed a project knows fully well: deadlines which apply positive pressure are your friends. The election deadlines put pressure on our enemies as well as the political process, and force those involved with the political process to avoid the problem of the perfect being the enemy of the good. The elections weren't a "bonus" that comes after "establishing security" - they were, and are, a crucial weapon in defeating the enemy.

On the other hand, deadlines which exert negative pressure are your enemies. Calendar dates for an Iraq troop pullout put unnecessary pressure on US and Iraqi armed forces, and give the enemy an obvious tactic: lie low and wait until we leave. The only strategy which makes sense is for us to defeat the enemy and finish the job.

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