Friday, October 08, 2004

That's It, in a Nutshell

Timothy Sandefur at Freespace has a good post about acting in the face of imperfect information. The summation:
Again, the question is not as much whether, knowing what we know now, Iraq was a good idea. The question is what sort of decisions we should make when we don’t know very much -- should we wait, and run the risk of letting a disastrous terrorist attack occur -- or should we take the risk of acting on imperfect information? In the case of Iraq, the President made the right decision because, in addition to the imperfect information, we at least knew that we would not be doing a bad thing getting rid of Hussein....The question is not whether war is a good thing or a bad thing. The question is not whether the Vice President is part of an evil capitalist conspiracy to exploit the proletarians in Iraq. The question is not even whether Bush’s domestic policies are good for the country, which they almost invariably are not. The question is what sort of mentality should we have toward undeniably dangerous states in the future. The answer to that, I think, is that we should be willing to attack even on the basis of imperfect information regarding a potential threat.
Not to put words in Sandefur's mouth, but here's my take: It's better to be wrong than dead -- even at the risk of being proved dead wrong after the fact.