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JakeS:
Similarly, I used to think about Afghanistan "well, it worked fine enough for Kosova..." Until some kind chap pointed me to a declassified MI6 analysis that said that the official British story about Kosova (which the Danish press had plagiarised wholesale) was basically a load of crap.

And this would be why I generally spend quite some time trying to understand why people believe what they believe. If that kind chap had not understood the reason behind your thinking about Afghanistan, he might have delivered a thousand reasons why invading Afghanistan would be wrong, that you would not have accepted as they would not have been relevant to your reasoning.

You can always heap arguments of why something or another is wrong, but to convince you need first to understand. And if you can convince then you can change stuff.

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by A swedish kind of death on Fri Dec 5th, 2008 at 04:47:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the debate where it came up was about the Kosova crisis, not the invasion of Afghanistan, so the psychological analysis wasn't quite as convoluted as might appear - I made the jump from Kosova to Afghanistan more or less myself...

But the wider point is well taken, and applies just as well to the kind of evidence that I would find acceptable in the Kosova case. It's certainly true that if he'd argued solely that it was A Bad Idea from a geostrategic point of view, I would have been less (read: Not at all) persuaded. Whereas I suppose for others it's their analysis of geostrategic advantage that matters.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Dec 5th, 2008 at 05:33:53 PM EST
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