Iraq Electronic Market?
Anybody know whether there's an electronic market concerning the future of Iraq? My interest in this should be obvious. Righties berate me for foolishly denying that Iraq is far improved and heading for democracy, lefties berate me for denying that it's obviously and irrevocably going to hell... But such vehement predictions are easy, especially over the internet, since the price of being wrong is so low. At least face-to-face with people you know you risk being called on your prediction in the future if it turns out ot be wrong. On the 'net, everybody's certain about everything...
But, as I often tell my students, one way to figure out whether you really believe what you are saying is to ask how much you'd be willing to bet on it. I think things in Iraq look bad, but I don't know enough about such things--nor enough about Iraq in particular--to have much confidence in my judgment. I wouldn't, say, bet 10% of my wealth (such as it is) on Iraq descending into (full-blown) civil war. And I'm wondering how many of those who are dead certain (one way or the other) would
do so. There seem to be a lot of people running around who know no more than I do, but who are far more certain than I am. But talk is cheap, and I'm wondering what people say when there's something other than words at issue.
On the other hand, I thought that the question of whether to go to war was a tough one, when it was probably, in fact, a fairly clear one. So what do I know?
Matthew Christman makes a good point when he emphasizes the importance of the incompetence of the administration. If, say, Clinton or Bob Dole or Wes Clark or Colin Powell were in charge, we could be more optimistic about our ability to pull out of a tailspin. But this crop of incompetents are the ones who took us from 9/12/01, when we had the support of the world and seemed destined to give al Qaeda the Mother Of All Ass-whuppings, to the near-disaster we find ourselves in now. We haven't quite lost, but did anyone in their wildest dreams ever think we could do this badly?