Sunday, October 28, 2007

Five flagrant, fallacies Bush exploits to wage illegal war, demonize his critics, and subvert the rule of law

The 'Appeal to Emotion', always a favorite among demagogues and propagandists, is designed to get around reason and good sense. Of all Bush fallacies, this may be the most evil and subversive. Practitioners of this fallacy intend for you to act upon our worst, most destructive emotions --fear and prejudice. As a recipe for disaster, it is found behind George Bush's every rationale for war against Iraq, including those made before the war and the lies, slogans and claptap put forward after the fact.

Demagogues commonly exploit vanity, fear, prejudice and hate. Bush's run up to war on Iraq ran the gamut. Fear of Islam became the springboard for a fallacious link between terrorism and Islam. Bush held up the bogeyman and made of it a focal point for fear and prejudice.

911 was like a post-hypnotic suggestion. It could be hauled out whenever Bush and his minions found it convenient to distract Americans from the truth, whenever it was necessary to summon up the old demons in support of new aggressive adventures. It became the focus point of hate and vengeance, what some psychologists would call an "anchor".

Rudy Giuliani's coaches have obviously told him to use the term "911" often. It's his only trick. It's mere mention is enough to trigger a flood of adrenalin, literally a replay of emotions --fear, anger, revenge! Rudy summons 911 repeatedly, perhaps, as many as five times in a single sentence. 911! 911! 911! 911! Rudy's every speech should be called his "911 speech" and, indeed, they are! Rudy is a one trick pony. The demagogues of war could not have hoped for or planned a better device than 911 to trigger the emotions of anger and revenge.

Every person killed by US troops in Iraq is not only a victim of US aggression, they are also victims of the fallacy called begging the question. Begging the question, often called a circular argument, involves assuming the truth of a conclusion in the premise. Fundamentalists long ago succumbed to this argument: the Bible is the word of God because God says so in the Bible.

The conduct of the "war on terrorism" is not merely premised upon circular argument, it IS a circular argument, causing resistance which Bush conveniently calls "terrorist". If the US put ten million men in arms at any part of the world now at peace, they will be greeted by armed resistance. Bush will summon the circular argument and call them all "terrorists". But Bushies would not be done! Having justified such an aggression by citing "terrorism", Bush will cite the opposition as evidence in proof of his absurdity. Of all fallacies, this has the potential of being the most pernicious.

Most talk of withdrawal, redeployment or a change in course is labeled as "cutting and running". Labeling is a short hand fallacy, wrapping up in a word or phase a panoply of over-generalizations. It is not only the GOP and Bush who indulge this nonsense, it is also liberals, who excoriate Bush on every front but the sacrosanct issue of 911, about which millions of Americans still cannot or simply will not think clearly.

Talk of "cutting and running" is a disingenuous appeal to American macho so deftly exploited by John Wayne. Perversely, Americans fell in love with images of US troops storming the beaches on D-Day. But it was not lovely, it was hell. And those who were there will tell you that. The metaphor of "cutting and running" implies that our purposes are legitimate. They are not! It implies that we had higher, nobler purposes in Iraq --like those of D-Day! We did not! "Cutting and running" implies that the US is a moral leader throughout the world. Sadly and because of Bush, we are not!

Fallacies are logical viruses. While pure reason is free of emotion, fallacies exploit commonly held fears and prejudices. The Bush administration played upon public fears like an organ. Saddam did not merely have WMD, he was "evil", a dictator who sponsored terrorists, presumably the "terrorists" who pulled off "911". "Bush promised that he would not wait while "dangers gather"! All of the hot buttons were pushed. Bush was not content to manufacture an appeal to fear, he raised up a great strawman, accusing, preemptively, anyone who might disagree of preferring to "wait" for threats to materialize. He put words into the mouths of his opposition and told them they were wrong. I can't recall anyone ever having said that they wanted to "wait" before embarking upon a war on terrorism. In retrospect, however, waiting would have been preferable to waging, as Bush has done in fact, wars on every one BUT terrorists.

I am still waiting for Bush to bring to justice a single, bona fide "terrorist". Thousands of summary executions to which he so ominously referred in his 2003 State of the Union Address don't count. By definition, summary executions are not justice. The summary execution of anyone at anytime by any person or state is simply murder. It is my position that Bush be tried, under international law, for war crimes to include mass murder.

We are often told that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels! But "spreading the guilt around" must surely rank as high! It is a despicable and mean-spirited evil that motivates crooks to take innocents with them to the gallows! "Everyone who saw the intelligence believed that Saddam had WMD", Bush told us. But was that so? Even if it had been true (it wasn't), it is a strawman fallacy. A favorite among Bushies, it implies that Bush is unfairly singled out for criticism.

Spreading the guilt around is a transparent attempt to tar Democrats with Bush's failure. Democrats, it is said, saw the same intelligence and because they came to the same conclusions, share Bush's guilt. That argument does not impress me! My position is simply: a noose for all war criminals! I don't care how they are registered to vote. Still --the Bush defense is never allowed in a courtroom and has never, ever resulted in an acquittal for anyone on trial for pre-meditated murder. It was Bush who beat the drums of war and lately, there is evidence that Bush himself ordered the tortures at Abu Ghraib. Bush can spread the guilt around if he wishes, but it will never persuade an international court that will be charged with considering the war crimes charges against him, nor will it persuade the US court that must consider the capital crimes case.

Bush and his spinmeisters have found a bottomless well of fallacious spin with which to justify America's continued presence in Iraq. With "talk of withdrawal sends the wrong message and emboldens the enemy", Bush impugns the patriotism of anyone who dares question his lies.
The phrase embolden the terrorists—as has taking the fight to the terrorists—has frequently been employed by President George W. Bush, members of the Bush administration, and others in their support of the war in Iraq and use of fear as a political tool.

At the June 19, 2006, President's Dinner, a GOP fundraiser, Bush said that an "early withdrawal would be a defeat for the United States of America. An early withdrawal would embolden the terrorists.


Bush's course of action in Iraq has never intimidated or deterred an enemy --not even those created by Bush's bone-headed, failed policies. The word "insurgent" itself is fallacious as it implies a resistance to a legitimate authority. There are, in fact, no insurgents in Iraq because there is no legitimate authority in Iraq to "insurge" against. Our very presence "emboldens enemies". It creates enemies. It gives the enemies of its creation, a convenient target. It makes terrorism worse and I have the stats to prove it. In fact, GOP policies since Ronald Regan have made terrorism worse. Again --I have the stats to prove it. British regulars found themselves in a quagmire when they tried to put down the American revolution. It was William Pitt, the Elder who exposed the hypocrisy of King George's position:
If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I would never lay down my arms! Never! Never! Never!

William Pitt, Earl of Chatham

Pitt had cultivated a lost art --that of thinking clearly about his own country. There is no higher, no more noble form of patriotism. I challenge George W. Bush to question the patriotism of William Pitt with regard to his own country, England. I challenge George W. Bush to question the patriotism of Thomas Jefferson who codified in our own Declaration of Independence the very principle with which we will overthrow the illegitimate regime of George W. Bush!

If the US presence in Iraq is illegal (and it is) then those who aid and abet are equally guilty of war crimes. By law, you must oppose Bush. Not the other way 'round. The guilt of those who have materially supported Bush, aided and abetted his crime, should be determined by the same International Tribunal that considers the war crimes charges against George W. Bush.

If we were truly engaged in a "clash of civilizations", our leaders --had they been responsible and competent --would have found it in our national interest to live up to our own ideals. Instead, we trashed them for bluster, bigotry, and braggadocio for which Bush himself set the tone. Many idiots supported Bush because they thought a war to seize Iraqi oil would bring down the price of gasoline. I have nothing but utter contempt for such idiots. Bush might go to war for oil but never to bring down the price. He would go to war to push it up!

Bush eschewed the ideals of our founders. He replaced articulate, well-thought out argument and reason with vengeance, fallacy, and bald faced lies. His regime has had the the effect of "emboldening" critics and enemies. Even worse, it has allienated our many friends and one-time admirers. We may never regain that lost ground.

The list of US abuses undermining our position, making us less safe, includes the heinous torture of detainees, the use of white phosphorus on civilians, cold blooded murders by Blackwater thugs, the Bush government's assault on civil liberties in the US, the Bush government's incompetent handling and callous abandonment of American citizens in New Orleans, the purely political outing of Valerie Plame, the ad hominem labeling of war critics as traitors, the labeling of critics of 911 officialdom! These things are aid and comfort to enemies of the US.

The actions of the Bush administration belie every American ideal. Bush's actions prove the hypocrisy behind his numerous lies and fallacies. That Bush is still is office proves we have not the strength of our convictions, the commitment to freedom and democracy that had always been among our defining characteristics. Our actions have not recommended us to the world.

It is said that a "people" get the kind of government they deserve. I keep wondering, what the hell did we do to deserve this inarticulate, evil cretin?

An update:

Iran Says Documents Show U.S. Backing "Terrorists"

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has access to evidence of U.S. support for terrorist groups in the Middle East, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, made the allegation in comments to visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, whose country may soon send troops to hunt down Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq.

Tehran says the rebels are operating in Iraq with U.S. forces present in the country and this shows Washington is refraining from tackling them.

Like Turkey, Iran also has faced cross-border attacks by Kurdish rebels and has shelled targets inside Iraq in response.

"Escalation of terrorism in the region is one of the direct results of the presence of occupiers in Iraq, particularly America," Jalili, an ally of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said according to the country's state broadcaster. ...

Bush's Bald Faced Lies About WMD

Olberman Comments about "Lying"

Bush: "There's an enemy lurkin' 'round out ther...and they jest hate us ..uh.. because of whut we luv...we luv freedom, we luv..."

Amy Goodman is about as exciting as
warmed up oatmeal --but the info here is good!

An addendum: our friend --the Poetry Man (Mark) --has an excellent video entered in the "What I Stand For" contest at Lions for Lambs. The winner chooses 20,000 dollars to go to the charity of their choice! Cowboy regulars can help by supporting Poetry Man's entry, already a finalist in the contest. Mark puts it this way: "I am excited at the prospect of doing something for my fellow man with such winnings!" Mark's entry is entitled "What I Stand For" and, when you've seen it, I think you'll agree that what he stands for deserves our support.

Additional resouces Discoveries

Spread the word:

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Anonymous said...

Some good news. Rumsfeld has been hit with a lawsuit in France for ordering and authorizing torture. He can add that to the German charges currently proceeding against him.

And on Iran: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said a few months ago in a series of closed discussions that in her opinion that Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel (also here)

I am sure we'll be needing that admission from Livni as the attack-Iran brigade moves closer to war.

Unknown said...

Damien, that is good news on several fronts. If Rummie gets hauled into a court, Bush will reveal his true colors and sacrifice him. It will also be a crack in the damn dam.

Likewise, Bush will have a hard time making the case to attack Iran without Israel's egging him on.

Kellygorski said...

What sickens me is that people like my father, people who are intelligent, educated, and far from gullible when it comes to anything else, have fallen for Bush's exploitative propaganda. "Better there than here," I often hear him saying. I have no idea how this happens. Maybe it was the underlying fear 9-11 produced. In any event, we all need to wake up.

Unknown said...

Kelly Gorski said...

Maybe it was the underlying fear 9-11 produced. In any event, we all need to wake up.

I agree, Kelly. Thanks for your post and thanks for the Oakenfold audio clip.