Thursday, December 01, 2005

Provoking vs Encouraging

Suppose you have to take your child to the grocery store to do some shopping. The child wants to go home and watch TV. He throws a tantrum.

The tantrum is an attempt to control your behavior. You have two choices -- you can give the child what he wants, or you can stand firm and refuse until you are finished. If you refuse, the child continues to whine and pout and scream. But you must do your shopping if you want to feed yourself and your child.

If you take the child home immediately, the child has learned an important lesson. Persistence will wear you down and tantrums work!

Standing firm definitely provokes the child, giving in encourages further use of his tactics.

Withdrawal proponents are right when they say that our presence in Iraq provokes the terrorist element. What they don't seem to know, or else they willfully ignore, is the glaring fact that withdrawal before Iraq is stable encourages their tactics. If it works, they will use it, their friends will use it, and others will use it. People tend to use what works. If they can purposely kill civilians -- often in gruesome and shocking ways -- and get what they want, then guess what we can expect more of?

Sure, our presence provokes them. Our retreat would do far worse.

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