[ExI] Costs of the Roads Not Taken

samantha sjatkins at mac.com
Fri Jul 27 17:10:53 UTC 2007

Lee Corbin wrote:
> Samantha writes
>> [Eugen wrote]
>>>> A first good step would be stop spending terabucks on breaking
>>>> things and start spending terabucks on making things.
>>> Whether or not the war was justified in some sense, it's simplistic
>>> to describe the choices this way.
>> Whether or not?  Surely you are not suggesting that there is any longer 
>> a shred of doubt on this score.
> I can hardly think of anything that at this point seems more a waste
> of my time than debating the merits of the Iraq war, and so I won't.
> Here I'm only  replying because of nature of your over-the-top
> response, which is of psychological interest.

Typical.  Your post is not of "psychological interest"?  Psychologizing 
posters is truly "over the top" and a total waste of time.   I spoke to 
your seeming refusal to reach any conclusions and rather, imho, 
dishonest insinuation about the Iraq War that fly in the face of what we 
have seen. 

>>> The problem, of course, is that the consequences of alternate
>>> policies may be even more costly.  Surely this was the supposition
>>> of those wishing to invade Iraq even as it was the supposition of
>>> those wishing to attack Japan and Germany in 1941:
>> Huh?  The cases are not remotely comparable.
> I was *merely* attacking the implied notion that one can
> evaluate costs simply, without taking into consideration the
> "roads not taken". 
No you were not merely doing that.  You were drawing a parallel by your 
choice of examples.  That parallel does not have merit.   I do not 
believe it was innocent.

> For my prison example, one can not
> ---at least to many people obviously not---simply say,
> "Well, we shouldn't spend money hunting people down
> and locking them up, because that is wasteful and doesn't
> produce any positive result. The money instead should be
> spend on schools and hospitals."
> Now I do not, of course, mean to say that anyone is saying
> that. But the reason that no one says that is that there would
> be woeful costs associated with not pursueing criminals. 
Side note as written is that a lot of "criminals" locked up in the US 
have committed no "crime" that should have been labeled as such much 
less lead to incarceration.

> The
> costs would not be immediate, and probably could not be
> reckoned as easy as budget items for police and prisons are.
> The analogy is easy, nothing deep here:  we often must 
> must take into accoutn the vague costs of not taking some
> courses of action. In the Iraq war, for instance, one would
> have to consider the likelihood that Saddam Hussein would
> eventually have built a bomb, 
This is utter empty speculation.  Iraq was rather strongly monitored and 
actively bombed in parts of its industry before this conflict.  The odds 
of this are extremely small.  And since when should we conduct 
international affairs by invading every country that might do something 
someday that might be a threat?   Do you really thing this is a valid 
way of considering our actions?

> or that an arms race would
> right now be going on between Iran and Iraq.  
Not likely although we actively created and sustained such a race not 
that long ago.

> But I do not
> mean at all to debate the likelihood of that---I simply am
> affirming that these are---of course---what went or is going
> though the minds of those who favored the invasion.
And what of these purported reasons?  Do they hold water and explain 
anything or not? 

>>> much more expensive by far than the current operations, it was
>>> deemed that in the long run failing to take these actions would
>>> have been even more expensive.
>> What a pile of horse manure.  Do you actually believe anything you write 
> Well, you seriously entertain the idea that I did not?
>> or does it just flow from your fingertips while your mind is otherwise 
>> occupied?
> I can only serve this up as an illustration of absurd narrowmindedness:
> How is it, I wonder to myself, that people become so wrapped up
> in the conviction of the correctness of their own opinions---a form
> of bigotry, really---that they begin to seriously entertain the idea that
> those who disagree with them must not be sincere.
Because in this case on this topic the facts are overwhelmingly against 
any implication that maybe this fiasco is better than not having entered 
into it.  There is a place for relatively low levels of certainty but 
this is not it.   Accusing me of narrow mindedness for saying so is absurd.

> This kind of bigotry usually comes from hanging out with and
Bigotry?  What?
> exchanging ideas only with those with whom one agrees on
> whatever topic is under consideration.  If you talk to enough
> atheists, and (somehow!) never hear from religious people,
> I suppose that folks naturally descend into "I cannot believe
> that they really suppose that there actually is a supernational
> being..."
> IN short, I'm wondering just where I'd have to evolve to in
> order to utter words like "Do you actually believe anything
> you write or does it just flow from your fingertips while your
> mind is otherwise occupied?".  Maybe if I had a really 
> really bad day?  :-)
I have watched you float ideas over and over again that don't hold water 
on much of any examination.  Why do you do that?   If I did it I would 
either have an agenda behind floating those ideas or I simply would not 
be thinking it through.   But I do admit that I should not assume that 
you are that much like me.   So what is the explanation?

- samantha

> Lee
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