Homer: Ah, not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm!
Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, honey.
Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away!
Homer: Uh-huh, and how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn’t work.
Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock.
Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around here, do you?
Homer: (Looks around) Lisa, I’d like to buy your rock.
[Now Starring as Homer Simpson: Ann Althouse.]
After pointing out that more Americans have died in the Iraq war than in 9/11, Althouse–quite remarkably at this late date–asks:
A key question — with an unknowable answer — is: How many Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?
Well, the answer is indeed unknowable, but given that Iraq had no substantial connection to Anti-American terrorism and posed no security threat whatsoever to the United States, the overwhelmingly likely answer is “zero.” Whatever Iraq was, it wasn’t “fighting back” against the Islamic radicals who actually attacked New York.
Of course, if it was only Republican pundits who don’t actually know anything about foreign policy who think that replacing a secular dictatorship with an Islamist quasi state was an effective way of “fighting back” against Islamic terrorism, this would be relatively harmless (although pathetic.) The truly appalling thing is that people actually in charge of American policymaking also didn’t demand any logical connection between a given military response and the actual threat facing the country, and as a result nearly three thousand Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died for nothing.