Saturday, May 12, 2007

On success

We often hear "talking heads" go on and on about how we must "succeed" in Iraq, and we see poll numbers suggesting that Americans think we will not do so. But here we see another flaw in polling. It assumes that people understand and agree on the meaning of the words used in the phrasing of the question. But, I think if we polled people regarding what "success" even means in the context of Iraq, we would see a wide spread of answers.

For instance, it could simply mean stability. Perhaps restoring Iraq to pre-invasion days is a success. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, it could mean complete Iraqi unity and American-style democracy. Or, a partitioning of Iraq into three sovereign entities, free to govern as they wish could be seen as a success.

If we want to succeed (and despite what the Bush Administration says, Democrats would like to see a success), we need to first define what that is. I'm torn about how we should define success. Should we create a strict definition and say it isn't possible? Or should we make it easier to achieve? Do we shoot for the best possible outcome or the most practical outcome?

Perhaps DC can shed some wisdom on this; he knows more about such international matters than I do.

No comments: