Thank you, Shailagh Murray

Here’s Washington Post reporter Shailagh Murray yesterday (via Atrios):

WASHINGTON, D.C.: I am somewhat surprised at the debate about the surge. In October, The Post’s own polling showed that 19% of voters favored an immediate withdrawal. Yesterday, CNN reported that more than 50% want an immediate or by year’s end withdrawal. Still, the politicians debate more or less, not sooner or later. Why won’t the politicians follow the polls when it comes to leaving Iraq?

SHAILAGH MURRAY: Would you want a department store manager or orthodontist running the Pentagon? I don’t think so. The reason that many politicians are squeamish about hard and fast goals of any kind in Iraq is that there is no simple response or solution — it would have emerged by now. A withdrawal by year’s end carries enormous, very serious implications.

LAKE LUZERNE, N.Y.: Why do we care so much more about Iraq, where our elected representatives have little influence, compared with affordable health care?

SHAILAGH MURRAY: Because the security of the most unstable part of the world is at stake.

Here’s my admiring email to Shailagh:


Thanks very much for your cogent answer to the questioner in your Washington Post chat yesterday who asked why politicians are ignoring the clear desires of Americans vis-a-vis Iraq. For far too long American “citizens” have felt they’re entitled to some sort of say over what the U.S. government does. (I’ve noticed they get especially uppity when it affects whether their children live or die.) Only with the efforts of leaders like yourself can we stamp out this pernicious nonsense.

I also appreciate that, when someone else asked why the U.S. government cares “so much more about Iraq” than affordable health care for Americans, your response avoided the actual answer, “oil.” It’s imperative that we keep this reality from the eyes of the department store managers and orthodontists who simply don’t have the brainpower to comprehend it.

best regards,
Jonathan Schwarz