I Do Not Think That Means What You Think It Means

This seems to be the latest Republican argument against a pullout:

[Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV)], who returned Tuesday from his fourth trip to Iraq, met with U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, Iraqi Deputy President Tariq al-Hashimi and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh.
“To a person, they said there would be genocide, gas prices in the U.S. would rise to eight or nine dollars a gallon, al-Qaida would continue its expansion, and Iran would take over that portion of the world if we leave,” Porter said Wednesday in a phone interview from Las Vegas.

All of these claims are pretty clearly false. al-Qaeda is thriving because of, not in spite of, the occupation; Iran would, indeed, back Shi’ite militias and parties, but it’s not like they’re not doing that currently; and it’s laughable that a pullout would damage the Iraqi oil export industry enough to provoke a tripling of the gas price. But this last argument intrigues me. Supposing it were true, it should be a reason to get the hell out, not to stay. Oil prices skyrocketing to $9 a gallon would be an amazing, fantastic development; it would encourage massive conservation and prompt the development and distribution of alternative energy sources like there was no tomorrow. Moreover, achieving that price through a very popular policy, like a withdrawal from Iraq, is obviously preferable to achieving it through a very unpopular one, like a big gas tax. So here’s hoping that by some miracle, Rep. Porter is right, and we start paying up the wazoo for oil once we’re out of Iraq.

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