Saturday, September 02, 2006

Do You Believe?

"It was poisoned, Peter," she told him softly; "and now I am going to be dead."

"O Tink, did you drink it to save me?"


"But why, Tink?"

Her wings would scarcely carry her now, but in reply she alighted on his shoulder and gave his nose a loving bite. She whispered in his ear "You silly ass," and then, tottering to her chamber, lay down on the bed.

His head almost filled the fourth wall of her little room as he knelt near her in distress. Every moment her light was growing fainter; and he knew that if it went out she would be no more. She liked his tears so much that she put out her beautiful finger and let them run over it.

Her voice was so low that at first he could not make out what she said. Then he made it out. She was saying that she thought she could get well again if children believed in fairies.

Peter flung out his arms. There were no children there, and it was night time; but he addressed all who might be dreaming of the Neverland, and who were therefore nearer to him than you think: boys and girls in their nighties, and naked papooses in their baskets hung from trees.

"Do you believe?" he cried.

Tink sat up in bed almost briskly to listen to her fate.

She fancied she heard answers in the affirmative, and then again she wasn't sure.

"What do you think?" she asked Peter.

"If you believe," he shouted to them, "clap your hands; don't let Tink die."

Many clapped.

Some didn't.
Do you believe we can win the war in Iraq?

If you dont you are a defeatist and can't be trusted with the future of this country. Or at least that's the bill of goods our friends on the right are trying to sell us. Consider, for example, Rich Lowry's latest article.
On Iraq, the Democrats are the party of defeat. That's not a partisan smear, but a fact.

The further we slide toward defeat, the higher the Democrats' political fortunes rise. To the extent they offer any clear policy alternative for Iraq, it is either -— depending on your point of view -— to admit, or to guarantee, defeat with a rapid drawdown of American troops. So, their political self-interest objectively coincides with a defeat, and the kind of pullout endorsed at times by high-profile leaders in the party would hasten it.
Or to put it another, if we Democrats would just clap our damn hands, hopes for victory in Iraq would still be alive.

Problem with that is that victory in Iraq isn't really determinant on American faith in the cause. Like Vietnam, victory in Iraq is largely dependent on factors that are outside our direct control. Things like the factions in Iraq figuring out how to work together. Or the Iraqi army and police getting strong enough to quell insurgents. Or the Iraqi government providing basic safety and services to the Iraqi people. Can we influence these things? Yes. Can we directly cause them to happen? Nope. That's up to the Iraqi people. And they may never come. My assessment is that they won't.

In a sense it's like playing roulette. The Republicans are wanting to stay at the table till the winning number pops up, no matter how unlikely that is. The Democrats don't want to piss away any more money on a losing wheel. Us clapping our hands or not clapping our hands has nothing to do with the wheel itself, any more than knocking on wood really keeps bad luck away.

Republicans are still hoping that enough Americans are willing to clap their hands to keep them in power.

Oh and for those interested in Peter Pan, from which the top section was taken, here's a link to the text.

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