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In Defense of So-Called “Cutting and Running”
Alexander S. Peak
6 September 2006

Alex Peak You've probably heard the catch-phrase “cut and run” which neoconservatives of late have loved to spit out at anti-interventionists and other peace advocates.  And what an effective soundbite it is!

But I like to look beneath the surface, and when I look beneath the veneer of neoconservatism, I see a form of socialism, what I've been calling conservative socialism.

Let's look at other ways in which such a phrase as “cut and run” could be leveled against yours truly.  I am considering opting out of Social Security (assuming I actually can) because I think it's a failed system, and I don’t want to pay into the system.  (To be clear, I don't wish to derive any of the so-called benefits of the system, either.)  It could easily be said then that I’m cutting and running...and in fact I would be cutting and running.  But is this such a bad thing?

Oh, heavens forbid I cut and run from a failing social programmes like Social Security.  Or how about Medicare and Medicaid?  Or welfare?  Heavens forbid I cut and run from another failing social programme: the War in Iraq.

Heavens forbid I actually advocate the sound economic policy of cutting one’s losses rather than proceeding with the same plan over and over and expecting different results.  In business, if you start a venture which continually fails, the sound thing to do is cut your losses and proceed from there.  It is not sound to keep going with a business decision which generates nothing but losses, saying to yourself, “If I stick with this just a little longer, I’ll see some benefit.”

“Cut and run” is an empty soundbite.  Period.  It has no value to any intellectual conversation.  Soviet Union-sympathizers could just as easily use the phrase to demonize those Russians who wished to be free from socialist oppression.

In war, cutting one’s losses is all the more serious, for the cost of war is not just dollars, but lives, too.  Allowing more soldiers to die will in no way justify the death of those that already have.  It will only increase our losses.