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Syria Chemical Weapons Agreement: President Obama Declares Victory

Posted Sep 22 2013 6:00am
Outcomes matter.  One will forget a tortuous path if it leads to a sanguine outcome.  This is true in medicine and in life.  Look at the recent path of American foreign policy and where it has led us.

Can You Choose the Right Path?

Confused yet?

The Outcome

So, did we do well here?  Is this George Bush’s fault? The president and his minions are gushing over the superb outcome that resulted.  Sure the path was little rocky, they admit, but they claim that Syria was brought to her knees without firing a shot.  They’re so giddy over the Putin rescue that their words and their heads are spinning wildly.

If the outcome is good, we will forgive a clumsy path.  If the outcome is bad, should we simply declare that it is good and celebrate our success?

Since this is ostensibly a medical commentary blog, let me offer a medical analogy.  In medicine, outcome is everything.  If the patient survives or recovers, then patients and families celebrate even if the result was accidental.  Many times I have been lucky to be presiding over a patient who recovers unrelated to my efforts.  Sometimes, I am given undeserved credit for these spontaneous healings.  But, it is harder for doctors than for politicians to tell patients that bad news is really good news.  Bad medical news doesn’t become good news just because we say it is.  If a doctor is over his head on a case and commits serial errors and misjudgments, and the patient barely survives, would we recommend this doctor to others?

Could Putin the peacemaker be awarded the Nobel Peace prize?  Then, he and Obama would have something in common.  Would Alfred Nobel celebrate these outcomes?  Would we?

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