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September 05, 2007


But if we only focus on the future, doesn't that completely erase the principle of accountability? When the surge started, Bush said it would be used to enable political progress in Iraq and laid out a series of benchmarks that would be used to measure that progress. Iraq has not met most or all of those benchmarks. Aren't there some policy consequences for that failure? Surely the consequences of past failures (or success) should have at least as much impact on current policy decisions as speculation about the consequences in the future. It seems to me that we have already made the mistake of keeping our troops in Iraq despite failure after failure by our military leaders and the Iraqi government precisely because of arguments about utility going forward.

This type of behavior on the part of the WSJ always reminds me of the categories of deniers: perpetrators, opportunists and assumed innocence, from CHARNY's "A classification of denials of the Holocaust and other genocides." Journal of Genocide Research (2003), 5(1), 11–34

1. Denials by perpetrators

Motivations: Hate

Tactics: Outright lies and inventions of fact, false documentation. - Language of deception, minimizing or denying portions, revisionism. - Rationalizations

2. Denial by opportunists

Motivation: Self-interest either personal or collective power, careerism, pragmatism, exhibitionism and realpolitik (in this sense, politics imposed by means of physical violence, political extortion or economic suppression)

Tactics: Acquiescence, compliance, acceptance. - Conformity, obedience, submission. - Failure to confront, resist, challenge.

3. Denial by assumed innocence

Motivation: Maintenance of worldview. - Ability to live with hope and trust in society

Tactics: Avoidance. - Blocking. - Self-deception

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