Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Kevin Hassett has the critical reasoning skills of a moldy raisin

The footer makes no bones about the fact that he's a Republican hack. The piece of his "Bush wasn't that bad" argument I find most obviously fallacious is this:

"The argument for his eventual vindication is stronger than many might expect.

On foreign policy, Bush emphasizes that he pursued a “freedom agenda” and spread freedom to Iraq. While the Iraqi future is far from clear, it is possible that the country becomes a democracy and a reliable ally of the U.S. If that transformation is completed, then it could well be viewed as a turning point in the war on terror.

On the home front, to virtually everyone’s surprise, we’ve avoided a terrorist attack since Sept. 11."

Dude, what kind of drugs are you on?

  1. Freedom: Secular Iraq (granted, under a repressive dictatorship) allowed women a great deal of equality and freedom, given a largely Muslim country. Now the theocratic repression that was supplied as ancillary justification for invading Afghanistan is blossoming in "free" Iraq. Maybe we should re-invade? Of course there's also that issue of whether Iraqis are "free" to live where they want, instead of fearing for their lives for being a Sunni in a Shia neighborhood, and vice versa. Not so easy to be "free" when there's religious and ethnic civil war going on around you and death squads are making folks "disappear". Or maybe death squads are part of the Bush notion of freedom? Kevin, you call Iraq free? Taking your wife to Somalia for your next vacation, since it's a safe place?

  2. It's possible that the Iraqis will decide we're totally awesome, and if that happens, Iran will think we're not so bad, and then maybe they'll all friend Israel on facebook, which could totally lead to peace and rainbows and unicorns. Seriously, Kevin? "Maybe it's not the giant fuck up it seems to be, and it will all be okay" is your argument?

  3. You know what else we haven't had in the US since 9-11, besides giant terrorist attacks? Giant meteors. We've also avoided massive outbreaks of Hanta virus, a failure of the Iowa corn crop, and hurricanes hitting Boston. Are the Bush policies behind these "successes", too? And how many (few) attacks is success? If we had experienced three subsequent attacks, Kevin could argue "Hey, at least we didn't have four attacks. I mean, with three, you can see the terrorists were really working hard, so we have to give credit to W for holding them down to just 3."

    There's no parallel world in which W's policies weren't put in place to serve as a control group for this world in which they were. So there's no way to prove that things would have been specifically different without W. One can't take credit for causing non-events. Or not causing non-events. It's made that much clearer by asking who "prevented" the non events: Maybe it was a vigilant populace, a decentralized effort of the citizenry, and not the government that kept us safe.

    Further, there were subsequent attacks. In London and in Madrid. They weren't in the US, but they were the same people with the same agenda and the same strategy. W hasn't cooled the anger and appeal of the radical Islamic agenda, he's encouraged it.

Dude, try again. This time, assume your reader can think.