I will never cease to be amazed by how much of the conservative world is ruled by appearances and superficial symbolism. For them, it's far, far more important to send the right message than to do the right thing.
It's so bad that they think you're a traitor for even considering an option that might possibly give our enemies a symbolic victory, and so the only options we're allowed to keep on the table are those that include outright victory in every conceivable sense (ie, a victorious war that shames all liberals into killing themselves). And as we've all seen, the "plans" they approve generally don't involve any actual plans, but instead just represent fantasy goals based upon overly optimistic scenarios which still aren't rosy enough to give them the success they insist we must wait for. Needless to say, this limits our options considerably...and our success even more so.
For example, it's better for Iran to continue to pimp anti-Americanism than it is for us to send the message that Iran is worthy enough to talk to us directly. Of course, the real reason why conservatives say that Iran doesn't deserve to talk to us is because they WANT Iran to pimp anti-Americanism, which will get us all the closer to the invasion these war mongers so desperately desire; but that's not what they say. They say it's all about sending messages, and we're supposed to be dumb enough that we find this persuasive.
And that's not to mention our idiotic policy of staying in Iraq as a way of preventing Osama from declaring a symbolic victory over us, rather than leaving Iraq and putting an end to his on-going strategic victory of us going there in the first place. Invading Iraq was one of the best things that Osama could have realistically hoped for, and we continue to give him that gift every day we stay. But for conservative bozos, the idea that Osama will taunt us for withdrawing is enough to make us stay there forever. I'm sure even after Bin Laden's death, they'd still want us to stay there; lest they imagine he'd laugh at them from Muslim Hell (which we all know is slightly better than the Hell awaiting us liberals).
But of course, I guess that's also not the real reason we stay in Iraq either. They need us to stay as their only way to rationalize the decision to go in the first place, and they don't care who has to die to keep that rationale. But still, the fact that they're always so willing to tout symbolic victories as reasons to do something is quite telling. But I suppose if they were smart enough to realize how embarrassing their rationalizations were, they wouldn't have been dumb enough to require them in the first place.