A Friendly Wager

Justin Logan writes:

    [P]rofessor Pundit compares and contrasts how friggin’ awesome things are in Iraq now with how scary and Hobbesian…er…France has become. Reynolds wonders:

    “Will France improve as much in the coming year as Iraq has in the past year? Doubtful.”

    From the telling of Instapundit and guys like Arthur Chrenkoff, you’d think they’re ready to pack their bags and bring us some photoblogging from their vacations in Iraq. Somehow, I don’t imagine either has the stones. Even though things are, like, awesome over there!

Which set me to thinking up some money-where-mouth-is test of how much Reynolds believes his own BS. Inspired by Julian Simon’s famous wager with Paul Ehrlich, I came up with this: Reynolds would pick a date within the reasonably near future, say a year or two, when he could go to Baghdad for a week. When that date arrived, if he was willing to go as a regular American tourist without U.S. military or other armed protection, then I would buy his round-trip ticket. If he would not go on that date, then he would have to buy me a round-trip ticket to Paris, where I would have to spend a week without U.S. military or other armed protection. I’d be willing to take my chances. Would Glenn?

Well, I was so excited that I started plotting our little trips online. After finding some pretty good deals on flights to Paris (the point wasn’t to soak Glenn, after all), I started searching Travelocity for flights to Baghdad. What’s this? No available flights to a city of 5 million-plus? But I found flights to Tehran, Beirut, Damascus, and every other Mideast capital I searched for. There must be some mistake! So I looked down the country list, which includes such peaceful, prosperous locales as Zimbabwe, Yemen, Rwanda, and Kyrgyzstan, but no Iraq. Over on Expedia, there were no flights to Baghdad, either, but when I searched, the program automatically changed my entry to “Baghdad, Iraq (SDA-Saddam International)” – a handy reminder that regular folks actually used to be able to fly into that airport before the events that led to its renaming.

So anyway, looks like the wager is off. Which is probably the best Iraq-related news Glenn will receive anytime soon.