On this particular thread, he lost it, and I decided to use his post as a punching bag.
I'm trying to apply Suzette Haden Elgin's work to the political discourse with a diary series here at dKos Links 1 , 2 ), and I've been urging Kossaks to do some homework. Since I haven't done that much homework myself, the post at Rockridge by Professor "X" was just too good to pass up....
original post by cwolman
...I am struck by the blandness, the lack of urgency, the academic tone .... Even ... the topics [show] a lack of salt.
Have we Americans lost our saltiness, our ability to call a spade a spade, tell it like it is, be salted with fire? Where is the outrage...?
Submitted by Professor X
Salt, in a Biblical sense, serves to preserve, flavor, cure and has the effect of stinging or being repulsive if used in excess. What I have seen in this discussion has a lot to do with saltiness generated by frustration and anger. That's not enough either. Adolph Hitler was frustrated, angry and certainly his rhetoric had salty power. Like many of you, Hitler argued by repeating mantras based on dearly held convictions. Germany's problems were the fault of France, England and the Versailles Treaty. Jews, communists and socialists had "sold out Germany" during the Great War. Jews, slavs, gypsies, and homosexuals were polluting the purity of Aryan blood. He was convinced and he expressed those convictions with power...he was one salty fuhrer.
Likewise, you "progressives" keep saying the same things, but are they substantive or do they repeat tired, worn out shibboleths from the now bankrupted vault of New Deal liberalism? For instance...
- BUSH LIED. A lie is when one claims that something he knows to be untrue is, in fact, true. Example: "I did not have sex with that woman Monica..." You get the picture. Bush based much of his arguement for undertaking Operation Iraqi Freedom on intelligence which indicated Saddam had a viable WMD program. Every major intelligence service, including those of Britain, Russia, Israel and Egypt reached the same conclusions. Certainly the Gulf states believed Saddam had such weapons given that much of their defense spending was for chem/bio suits and Patriot PAC 3 anti-missile systems. Bush did not lie.
- The War in Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom is a theater in the Global War on Terror, not a distinct war unto itself. The GWOT is a total war. Our enemies are al Qaeda, groups that support them like Hezbollah and Syria and Iran. Iraq is not torn by civil war, as "Tom in PA" claimed. Rather, Iraq has a democratically elected government which includes Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds along with other factions. The terrorists who are slaughtering mostly innocent Iraqis are mostly from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Iran with a comparatively small number being former Saddam supporters who want to go back to those halcion days of torture and rape chambers while Saddam sells oil to his good buddies in Europe and Russia to finance his thirty-three palaces while the Iraqi people starve. This is no civil war. We are the liberators.
- Carol Wolman mentioned "unanswered 9/11 questions." The 9/11 Commission did a very good job of answering questions, if your read their report. Of course you might be reading religion and philosphy professor David Ray Griffin's "The New Pearl Harbor" which claims the Bush administration, the military, the CIA and the Israelis were behind the 9/11 attacks. He claims the Pentagon was struck not by an airliner (despite hundreds of eyewitness accounts) but by an air-to-surface missile. He claims the CIA rigged the Twin Towers with explosives so that they would collapse after being struck by airliners flown by the Bush administration's co-conspirators. He also claims Flight 93 was shot down AFTER Todd Beamer and his brave friends retook the plane to keep the subdued hijackers from being interrogated. This has real appeal in that parallel paranoid universe where Kim Jung Il meets Lyndon Larouche and with Howard Zinn, Richard Falk and with that well known national security issues expert, Rosemary Radford Reuther, the Carpenter Professor of Feminist Theology at the Graduate Theological Union of Berkeley, California.
X. X. X, Jr.,PhD
Professor of History
And from chriscol in defense/attack
I'd like to thank Professor X ..
for presenting me with such a classic right-wing verbal attack for analysis.
While I have no doubt that Suzette Haden Elgin could do a much better job at this analysis than I can, (and I am sure she would be kinder) I do appreciate the opportunity.
In the first paragraph, Professor X begins in classic Computer Mode with a banal review of historical uses for sodium chloride. He then neatly twists a trivial strategy of all politicians into an implied equivalence between liberals and Adolph Hitler. To exaggerate and further illustrate, one might offer the following triviality, also perfectly truthful: Professor X, like Adolph Hitler, breathes oxygen and had a human mother.
The brief second paragraph, by putting "progressives" into quotes, implies dishonesty among people who call themselves progressives. The second sentence is a nice distraction from the honesty issue; it lobs an implied doubt of the intellectual depth of those progressives and then spins it with a dig at a Democratic hero. The tiny bit of truth in the sentence cavalierly skips over an elephantine question: If the New Deal, like Enron, is going bankrupt--then WHO is the Government's Ken Lay?
Paragraph three is purportedly a "fact" that supports the implication of intellectual laziness from paragraph two. X neatly distracts his readers from a simplistic definition of "lie" by using an inaccurate quote straight from the Democratic Achilles' heel. While his readers are still reeling in embarassment, he attempts to make his case that Bush has not lied, packing his sentences with technical details that suggest personal expertise.
We now have a verbal example of the hazards of an unsupported attack. Just as the Bush Team attempted to overwhelmingly crush the Iraqi resistance, but finally lacked the resources to properly secure the peace, the respectful professor forgot to do some of his homework.
* Bush based much of his arguement for undertaking Operation Iraqi Freedom on intelligence...
Any freshman poli sci debater making such a sweeping statement about WHY a government took a particular action would normally be expected to support and to document his position. A discerning professor would also expect a student to investigate opposing views, and either acknowledge the limits of their credibility, or debunk them. We all understand the limitations on a professor's time, of course, and that is why I am offering my help. Complete information about the "Downing Street Memo", including the full text and official validation, can be found at http://www.downingstreetmemo.com/ . This information clearly states that the goal of war with Iraq drove the "intelligence", and not the other way around as Prof X has suggested. That the British Government has conceded that validity of the transcriptions, despite their negative implications about the government itself, strongly suggests that the contents are truthful.
* Iraq...This is no civil war. We are the liberators.
Again, an unbiased reporter with a high regard for the truth might have looked beyond the White House press team for information. When a primary source has a stake in the information, most readers would expect the reporter to (at a minimum) offer corroborating evidence from a second source, preferably with an opposite bias.
* Carol Wolman...The 9/11 Commission did a very good job of answering questions, if your read their report. ....parallel paranoid universe"
This paragraph is a salad of skilfully packaged innuendo. Since Ms Wolman's credentials are good, Professor X challenges by implication. He presents the possibility that Ms Wolman may not have read the complete 9-11 report--but he offers no evidence. He then offers a highly unlikely alternative -- that she had instead been reading a much less reputable report by someone most of us have never heard of--and fails to support THAT! Even more strangely, he neglected to mention the much more obvious source for any unanswered 9-11 questions--those questions raised by Kristin Breitweiser and Mindy Klineberg before the commission first met. (The full 911 Report and the two statements may be found in the US government archives at the following sites:
Jung suggested that the sins we do not face within ourselves we will project upon the Other. Jesus suggested something similar with the parable of the person who tries to remove the splinter in his neighbor's eye before removing the beam in his own.
Bearing Jung and Jesus in mind, Professor X's wrap-up is telling: "What you are really upset about... You cannot stand it that .... And you are really distraught that .... "
Unsupported accusations, whether explicit or implicit, are therefore grounds in and of themselves for distrust of those accusations. I hope all of us in this discussion will take a deep breath and once again resolve to be kind and to be careful before we post. We want to salt our bread, not each other's wounds.