Apocalypse Not?

APOCALYPSE NOT?….Robert Dreyfuss has a piece in the new issue of the Monthly that’s well worth reading. Its premise is simple: nearly everyone — even anti-war liberals — tends to accept the conventional wisdom that an American withdrawal from Iraq will result in unbridled civil war and massive carnage. But are we really so sure of that?

If it was foolish to accept the best-case assumptions that led us to invade Iraq, it’s also foolish not to question the worst-case assumptions that undergird arguments for staying. Is it possible that a quick withdrawal of U.S. forces will lead to a dramatic worsening of the situation? Of course it is, just as it’s possible that maintaining or escalating troops there could fuel the unrest. But it’s also worth considering the possibility that the worst may not happen: What if the doomsayers are wrong?

This is a thought-provoking piece not because Dreyfuss proves his point — nobody knows for sure what would happen if we left Iraq, after all — but simply because he asks the question seriously instead of simply assuming the worst. There are plenty of reasons to think that the worst-case scenarios are overblown, and even more reasons to think that even if they aren’t, they’re no worse than what will happen if we stay. You may or may not agree with Dreyfuss’s conclusions, but his arguments are worth grappling with. Take a few minutes to read the whole thing.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation