Skip to main content

A recent NY Post artilce entitled "Battling for Baghdad" got to me.  Unsurprisingly, it's the same talkingpointish BS that we hear everywhere from right-wing media outlets.  But I thought I'd make this article a case study in why so many of the right's screeds are not just wrong, but dishonest.

What bothers me most isn't the obvious partisan bias of the author or his wishful potrayal of the situation.  It's his constant use of logical fallacies to support his flimsy reasoning.

Some exerpts:

As Democrats, Iraqi insurgents and terrorists all struggle to prevent an American win, it's hard to get an accurate sense of Iraq nowadays.

We don't actually mean the majority party (yes...) in this country is allied with terrorists, just that they want the same thing.  We're not implying guilt by association or anything...

Proposals to limit the freedom of action of our troops reflect domestic politics at their shabbiest - and you and I know it.

A flimsy straw man and an argumentum ad populum in the same sentence.

THERE are no guarantees of success.

Quite the platitude.  I'm thinking it means "if it fails, we reserve the right to blame Democrats", as if they're not going to do that anyway.

Personally, I continue to believe that 2007 is the year of decision - when the Iraqi government and its security forces have to show their mettle. But 2007 has barely begun. Let's not declare defeat for April Fool's Day. The stakes are so high that Iraq merits this last chance.

This "next x months will be crucial" meme has been used so often it has a name: the Friedman Unit (6 months).  Friedman himself has finally given up on hoping victory is just around the corner.  If the author had actually read the NY Times (gasp!) columnist, he might not have made the same silly claims.

There's one thing we know won't work: The nutty Pelosi-crat proposal to restrict the mission of U.S. troops to "training Iraqis and defeating al Qaeda." Would our troops have to wait to return fire until they checked the ID cards of their attackers? If they saw a massacre of women and children in progress, would we want them to stand by until they received a legal opinion as to whether the killers were bona fide foreign terrorists?

Another straw man, this time with a childish eptithet that still tries to use a derivitive of "Democrat" as an adjective.  Even Bush had to apologize when he was caught doing that during the SOTU.  And perhaps Pelosi meant no more heavy-handed patrols or UN-style peacekeeping in the midst of sectarian violence, not "checking IDs"?  More of an appeal to ridicule, really.

But our brave men and women in uniform have new coaches and a new playbook for Iraq. They believe they've got a reasonable chance to cross the goal line - and they've got more at risk than a sports celebrity's salary. Yes, the Iraqis have to pick up the ball - but it would be an immoral act of strategic madness to fumble the ball on purpose. In the end, we may not win. But you can't win if you walk off the field while the game's still under way. The clock may run out on hope for Iraq. But it hasn't yet.

I think the football analogy is insufficiently belabored.  It should say "it's not yet time for a Hail Mary", or maybe "It's only third and short, but the Democrats already want to punt and Osama bin Laden is a good returner".

I'll leave it to The New York Times to betray our military secrets.

Non sequitur, and when did the Times do that?  The author may be referring to the exposure of the commander in chief's repeated Fourth Amendment violations by authorizing warrantless wiretaps, or maybe the similar banking records thing.  If he's talking about things like troop movements or specific intelligence items, the betrayers were respectively war cheerleader Geraldo Rivera (of Fox News channel) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL).

Compare this, say, with a left-leaning journalist (I picked Frank Rich off the top of my head).  If these fallacies were commonplace, you would expect to hear it from our side as well.  Rich's most recent article (warning: paywalled) is hardly what would call objective, or even nice:

Watching the administration try to get its story straight about Iran's role in Iraq last week was like watching third graders try to sidestep blame for misbehaving while the substitute teacher was on a bathroom break. The team that once sold the country smoking guns in the shape of mushroom c...

But notice, Rich can be vicious without appealing to popular sentiment, absurd interpretations of the other side's arguments or name-calling.  Our best and brightest don't have to do that.  I know it's only one paragraph, but the rest of the article is in similar vein.

It's a measure of how rhetorically inferior their positions are that they have to.

Originally posted to Cream Puff on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 12:00 PM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site