Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cut and Run

I probably could have ridden all the way home on the Burke-Gilman Trail today, but it seemed like one of those cases of discretion being the better part of valor to bail and take the bus after riding on crunchy ice for a couple miles from Bothell to Kenmore.

Navigating the shoe-imprinted crust was moderately do-able, if rather more harrowing than I liked. My wheels bounced on the divots in the ice, causing me to lose traction regularly, and almost fall too many times for my taste. Even worse were bike tracks—maybe some of them mine from Monday night—which grabbed at my tires and forced them in unintended directions.

Besides, it was starting to get dark; if I couldn’t see the trail well, chances of wiping out were even greater.

So, I took the bus to the U-District and rode home from there. Except for the still ice-covered blocks around my house—which forced me to walk gingerly, leaning on my two wheels for support—that part of the commute was relatively uneventful.

Aside from making me wonder whether I could construct snow tires by wrapping zip ties around the wheels between each spoke, my decision to take public transit partway also caused me to reflect on the US military mission in Iraq.

Jen and I were talking the other night about the currently emerging public discussion about a US military withdrawal, the so-called “cut and run” strategy that Democrats have been accused of advocating.

And what I was thinking was that sometimes cutting and running—if that’s what it is—isn’t so bad.

If the US military presence in Iraq is on as slippery ground as I was today, (and they certainly are) then it’s perfectly understandable that they should pull out.

Moreover, as philosophers say, “ought implies can;” and if the US military can, in fact, no longer help in Iraq (and perhaps they can’t) then they are under no obligation to stay.


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