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Adroitly Avoiding Ad Hominem
Our President has been accelerating his aggressive defense of his Iraq War policies. As I said last week, itís about time! The extreme Left has been harping on a lie: Bush Lied, Soldiers Died. Our President is responding, and forcibly so. To quote him from Monday the 14th:
Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war Ė but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people. Leaders in my Administration and members of Congress from both parties looked at the same intelligence on Iraq Ė and reached the conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a threat. Let me give you quotes from three senior Democrats: First, quote, "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons." End quote. Hereís another one, quote, "The war against terrorism will not be finished as long as [Saddam Hussein] is in power." End quote. And hereís the way another Democratic leader summed it up, quote, "Saddam Hussein, in effect, has thumbed his nose at the world community. And I think that the Presidentís approaching this in the right fashion."
"The Left is, of course, overreacting. They take the first sentence of the passage above, and proceed to complain that our President is questioning their patriotism. There is no way to parse the passage above, or any passage of any speech he has ever made as President, as any attempt to question the patriotism of any Democrat."
The Left is, of course, overreacting. They take the first sentence of the passage above, and proceed to complain that our President is questioning their patriotism. There is no way to parse the passage above, or any passage of any speech he has ever made as President, as any attempt to question the patriotism of any Democrat. He does question their honesty, and to that end, he cites evidence. Everyone from Bill Clinton to John Kerry spoke out about the threat that Saddam posed. Our President acted on that threat, after Saddam repeatedly flouted the UN Security Council, and even Hans Blix, the UN weapons inspector, said that he was not following the seventeen resolutions designed to remove his WMDs.
Now, after supporting the war, the Left is saying that Bush lied to get us into the war. They are questioning our Presidentís patriotism by accusing him of the crime of manufacturing and / or doctoring intelligence data. He has to respond, and he has chosen to respond by showing that they started out on the same page that he is. Now, this is risky. He risks being accused by some of ad Hominem tu Quoque -- attempting to discredit a personís position by showing that he or she adopted a contrary position in the past -- the "you donít practice what you preach" attack.
"Of course, this is not a formal debate; itís politics. Political arguments rarely make logical sense. However, when you resort to fallacious arguments, you step into a glass house as you throw your stone."
Of course, this is not a formal debate; itís politics. Political arguments rarely make logical sense. However, when you resort to fallacious arguments, you step into a glass house as you throw your stone. Looking at our Presidentís remarks, itís close to an ad hominem attack. The Left resorts to ad hominem attacks as a matter of course; every conservative is used to being called "nasal" (Laura Ingraham); "gook" (Michelle Malkin); "anorexic," "Nazi," "whore" (Ann Coulter); "house N*gga" (Condi Rice); "moron," "hick," "idiot," "liar," (President George W. Bush). The temptation is high, very high, to resort to ad hominem attacks in response to the litany of cruel abuse from the Left. But we need to show our maturity by resisting that impulse.
So, is our President saying "you are wrong about the war because you supported it at first?" No. He is saying that people are free to disagree about the conduct of the war, but he is sick and tired of being falsely accused of lying to get us into that war. He is not saying that the war is valid because the Democrats supported it at the outset. He is saying that the Democrats saw the same intelligence that he did, and determined it to be valid. He is also implying that the Democrats have no evidence to support their contention that our President lied to get us into the war. And that implication is true. The British stand behind their Niger Uranium intelligence. Joe Wilsonís accusations were discredited by the U.S. Senate. Most importantly, eliminating WMDs were one of many reasons why we entered Iraq. In order to discredit our Presidentís rationale for entering the war, one must discredit every reason we entered Iraq, and that is impossible. I personally think that the WMD argument was and is still valid; the WMDs were moved before we could get in there -- perhaps because the Leftists made us drag our feet?
"I applaud President Bush. He is getting tired of being punched around, especially with the barrage of lies that the Left has manufactured about him. Now he is responding with the truth."
I applaud President Bush. He is getting tired of being punched around, especially with the barrage of lies that the Left has manufactured about him. Now he is responding with the truth. Is is any wonder that the mainstream media is underplaying what he is saying? Of course not. The Left has been working long and hard, with the active assistance of the media, to use every conceivable variant of ad hominem attack to destroy our President, as part of a lerger plan to discredit and criminalize conservatism. They are bolstered by the media, who fakes up phony low approval ratings to attempt to demoralize us. However, the Right has made an art out of fact checking, doing for the press the job that they believe is our responsibility. Mary Mapes, producer of the forged-document story in the 2004 election season, stated that the idea of the press checking to make sure that its sources are genuine is "not the standard." Isnít using phony evidence to back up an accusation of wrongdoing against any person the ultimate ad hominem fallacy?
No wonder our President finally felt the need to respond. His tail was on the line. I am so glad to see this pleasant change. Mr. President, you will find that I am not the only one, by far, who applauds your courage in taking on the liars.