One chance in four?

Apparently those are the odds Gen. Petraeus is quoting on the success of the strategy he’s in charge of implementing. Maybe those odds are good enough. But is it really unpatriotic to oppose spending soldiers’ lives on such a desperate gamble?

Apparently those are the odds Gen. Petraeus is quoting on the success of the “surge.”

Given the stakes in getting an awful outcome in Iraq rather than a horrible one, if I thought the chances were really that good I’d be for it. Since I don’t know, I’m still agnostic, though inclined to think that this is just another exercise in Bush/Rove political cynicism dressed up as anti-terrorism, especially given how slap-dash the policy development process seems to have been.

But it would be nice to hear surge supporters acknowledge that this is a desperate throw of the dice, not a strategy that would be likely to work if only the anti-war folks would get out of the way, and that it’s not at all unreasonable for strongly patriotic people to reject the proposal to bet soldiers’ blood at such long odds.

H/t: TPM

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com