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August 31, 2006

"Logical Interpretations"

As we enter the 723rd "major public-relations offensive to strengthen support for the Iraq War," it's good to see the media wizening up a bit to the ghastly insinuations and accusations spit out by the increasingly desperate administration. The Bushies' new tactic seems to rely on suggestions that Democrats plan to block all war appropriations, starving the troops of supplies, armor, and munitions so they lose the war, and thus retreat, faster. Happily, Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post seem to have found that one a headscratcher, and asked for some clarification.

Pressed to support these allegations, the White House yesterday could cite no major Democrat who has proposed cutting off funds or suggested that withdrawing from Iraq would persuade terrorists to leave Americans alone. But White House and Republican officials said those are logical interpretations of the most common Democratic position favoring a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq.

Ah ha! The dreaded "logical interpretations" gambit. I'm looking forward to the next press conference, when Rummy drags out a chalkboard and treats the American people to an ontological primer so we're better equipped to follow future speeches.

In any case, none of this seems like a very big deal to me. If Dems cut off the money, well, the soldiers can always take out loans...

August 31, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

pressed to support these allegations

Wow. Music to my eyeballs, that line is. Let's do it again:

pressed to support these allegations

It's... it's almost like... journalism.

pressed to support these allegations

Sorry. Just had to see it one more time.

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Aug 31, 2006 2:19:49 PM

Ezra, I apologize for a completely off-topic comment, but I just wanted to let you know on behalf of the disaffected blogofascists getting ever more angry with the New Republic, that we will never forgive you if the only thing keeping Spencer Ackerman at TNR instead of TAP is you or Matt refusing to let him have a nice desk there, or some other turf battle. For our sakes, offer to cook him a homecooked tofu-based meal once a week if it'll get him to come on over away from the dark side. Please?

(/snark)

Posted by: jfaberuiuc | Aug 31, 2006 2:52:53 PM

That is good news. Of course, the 'logical interpretations' game goes only one way; if anyone were to suggest (perish the thought!) that it was a 'logical interpretation' of Bush's Iraq policy to say that Bush was for a Shiite theocracy before he was against it, they would clearly have fallen prey to Bush Derangement Syndrome.

By the way, I think you mean 'wising up'. 'Wizening' is something else entirely.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Aug 31, 2006 3:08:34 PM

Ah... withdrawing from Iraq will strengthen terrorist types there. It reminds me of Dave Barry's proposed motto for the CIA: "Proudly Overthrowing Fidel Castro since 1962." Look around you: is current policy somehow keeping terrorists from becoming stronger? If you're going to defend current policies on the basis of the bad consequences that would follow from terminating said policies, it's much easier if the aforementioned bad consequences aren't already in full swing even as you've continued your policy.

Posted by: Julian Elson | Aug 31, 2006 3:14:40 PM

"or suggested that withdrawing from Iraq would persuade terrorists to leave Americans alone"

On a serious note, this quote, which describes the view that Republicans ascribe to democrats, has almost certainly never been stated by Democrats. This is the opposite argument to the famous flypaper theory (Iraq is not related to Al Qaeda directly, but allows us to fight them there rather than here). Democrats don't argue that the flypaper theory is backwards, they argue it is wrong in its very assumptions, since it creates new terrorists in Iraq (Sunni insurgents, primarily, at least until recently), and has little affect whatsoever on the non-Iraqi al qaeda population that attacked us before and couldn't care less whether we are at war in Iraq or not. Democrats have been suggesting that the war in Iraq distracts from the war on terror, which is in no way equivalent to anything like Bush's caricature. Bush's statement is only logical if you combine the Democrat's position on Iraq with Bush's assumptions about Iraq, which they rather explicitly reject.

Posted by: jfaberuiuc | Aug 31, 2006 3:16:58 PM

"stab-in-the-back" is coming.

The U.S. is going to be forced out of Iraq within 18 months by the accumulated failures of George W. Bush, but a Democratic House will be made the scapegoat by the corporate right-wing Media.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder | Aug 31, 2006 3:22:33 PM

Do you mean to say that the press...actually...attempted...to hold...the president...and the...administration...accountable?!?

It actually called the administration on its shit? Asking for names, verification of innuendo?

Somewhere hell is freezing over.

Posted by: Bulworth | Aug 31, 2006 3:45:07 PM

Nice C&L article. Glad to see Fish Rap is able to get you places, haha

Posted by: Tyler | Aug 31, 2006 4:51:00 PM

See Glenn Greenwald for another take on Bush's rhetoric about cutting funds. He argues, and I think he might be right, that he's trying another executive power grab. According to Greenwald, he's trying to suggest that the only authority Congress has over the Iraq war effort is funding. Greenwald extends that to the Iran situation, suggesting that Bush wants to claim the authority to wage war without Congress's authorisation. I think that's a bit of a stretch, myself, but then who'd have thought six years ago that the government would argue that holding a US citizen without trial was consitutional, or that it was perfectly fine to violate a criminal statute on surveillance?

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Aug 31, 2006 6:47:28 PM

"the White House yesterday could cite no major Democrat who has proposed cutting off funds"

Man, I should work for the WH.

"In fact, Kerry did vote October 11, 2002 to grant Bush authority to use military force against Iraq at his discretion, and a year later Kerry also voted against Bush's request for $87 billion to fund military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan."

...

"the bill Kerry opposed did contain $300 million requested by the Pentagon to buy best-grade body armor for all troops in Iraq, and also contained additional combat pay and health benefits for reservists called to active duty."

And who could forget.....

"We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region."

.....

"Murtha estimated that all U.S. troops could be pulled out within six months."

Now, before any of you clowns come out with "Murtha didn't say cut off funding" or something moronic like that, I will explain that if we left Iraq we would significantly cut funds we sent to help Iraq.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 31, 2006 7:51:51 PM

Huh. Toke contines to be a lying sack of shit, and doesn't bother to link to the article that he steals quotes from.

http://www.factcheck.org/article155.html

Toke is trying to make it seem like Kerry voted against 2 bills, when it was only one.

Kerry voted FOR a bill which would fund the Bush invasion and occupation of Iraq on current taxes instead of on debt. Kerry voted against the Bush policy of debt-funding the invasion and occupation of the Iraq on debt, instead of raising taxes on people making > $400K / year back to the levels of the miserable 1990's in order to fund the war.

And of course, the second set of quotes from Murtha don't prove what Toke wants them to prove. They simply represent Murtha's opinion (always shared by a substantial percentage of Americans, and now shared by a majority) that the Republican occupation of Iraq is a train wreck. To suggest withdrawing is not the same as a defunding that Toke is trying to suggest will put troops in harm's way. See, withdrawal would reduce the billions of dollars we're spending, but doing it *in that order* is not the same as *forcing a withdrawal by defunding* no matter how bad Toke wants it to be.

Last, Toke didn't post the link because it reminds everyone that Bush invaded Iraq *knowing* that our troops did not have appropriate equipment. Not so good for the Republican masters Toke serves.

Ezra, Toke is a liar who does nothing but spew RNC talking points, and I continue to wonder why you pay for bandwidth to support him in his lies.

Posted by: paperwight | Aug 31, 2006 8:10:38 PM

"Toke contines to be a lying sack of shit"

Please point out the lie I told.

Oh, you can't.

"Toke is trying to make it seem like Kerry voted against 2 bills, when it was only one."

Man are you stupid. I was pointing out that Kerry voted against funding the war. Thats it! It is just icing on the cake that he votes against funding the war he voted for. That helped Bush win the 04 election.

"Toke is trying to suggest will put troops in harm's way."

What the fuck are reading? I was pointing out that Murtha wanted immediate withdrawal from Iraq which in turn would cut funding. I thought it was pretty simple. But then again, look who it is that can't follow it.

"Last, Toke didn't post the link because it reminds everyone that Bush invaded Iraq *knowing* that our troops did not have appropriate equipment."

NO. I didn't post the link because I assumed it wasn't necessary. This is a political blog and I assume the people here remember Murtha's comments and don't need me to provide a link. Paperwight, type "immediate withdrawal+Murtha" into yahoo and you will get your link.

"Ezra, Toke is a liar who does nothing but spew RNC talking points, and I continue to wonder why you pay for bandwidth to support him in his lies."

WAAAAAAA! WAAAAAAAAAA! Ban him! His facts are mucking up my fantasy world! Bush lied, people died!

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 31, 2006 8:42:24 PM

"(always shared by a substantial percentage of Americans, and now shared by a majority)"

WRONG!

Murtha wants immediate withdrawal. Most Americans don't think we should withdraw immediately.

Ezra, paperwight is a liar who does nothing but spew DNC talking points, and I continue to wonder why you pay for bandwidth to support him in his lies

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 31, 2006 9:18:28 PM

Toke, you have to admit, that's pretty disingenuous. Kerry was voting on the mechanism by which the unds were acquired, not on whether the funds should be acquired. If I ask you to vote on funding better security at the local playground through debt, and you prefer to do so by raising taxes on local businesses, am I then allowed to call you pro-pedophile? Because that's what your logic chain is here.

On the mUrtha thing, your thinking is even muddier. Bush is implying that we would defund the war, therefore putting troops in harm's way and forcing withdrawal. Murtha is suggesting that we get troops out of harm's way, which would then probably free up a lot of funding as we, er, wouldn't be paying for troops not in the filed getting shot at.

You've completely ignored a little thing called causality. So I've got to assume you're screwing with your argument intentionally there -- i.e. if not lying, fudging -- as you don't seem stupid enough to not understand the difference.

Posted by: jonrog1 | Aug 31, 2006 9:22:52 PM

jonrog1,

If we are going to be totally honest, Kerry voted against the 87 billion to appease the anti-war base. As he has always done, Kerry tried to be on both sides of the issue.

As far as cutting off funds, how many times have you heard a Dem say "we could be using the Iraq war funds for schools" or "the poor" or whatever?

The overall point of the administration is that the Dems want to cut and run.

Does anyone remember what happened to millions of Vietnamese after we pulled out of there?

Will you guys be OK with a few million dead Iraqis if the US withdraws from Iraq prematurely?

Posted by: Captain Toke | Aug 31, 2006 9:33:10 PM

Is McDonald's closed today, captain joke, you ignorant wingnut? You can always try the recruiting office.

Posted by: merlallen | Sep 1, 2006 7:30:31 AM

if we left Iraq we would significantly cut funds we sent to help Iraq.

"funds we sent to help Iraq" != "funds we sent to Iraq". Only the latter is true of what you describe. But then, that's just nitpicking. Complaining about Murtha wanting to get troops out of Iraq on the grounds that it would reduce funding to Iraq is bending over backwards to support anything coming out of the mouth of an Iraq War supporter.

More importantly, voting against a specific spending bill for something != voting to cut funding for something. It would be utterly insane for Congress to almost literally give a blank check to the executive branch by voting on "do you want to fund [X] or not?" So they don't. They vote on where the money comes from and how much money down to the dollar and how it can be spent.

Also, I see you've been making breakthroughs in number theory. Can you show us your proof for 0=6? I mean, you must have something like that, if you interpret "Murtha estimated that all U.S. troops could be pulled out within six months," to mean "Murtha wants immediate withdrawal."

Posted by: Cyrus | Sep 1, 2006 9:24:47 AM

"But then, that's just nitpicking. Complaining about Murtha wanting to get troops out of Iraq on the grounds that it would reduce funding to Iraq is bending over backwards to support anything coming out of the mouth of an Iraq War supporter."

What about Kerry's vote against the 87 billion? Or the numerous Democratic proposals for withdrawal?

"Murtha estimated that all U.S. troops could be pulled out within six months," to mean "Murtha wants immediate withdrawal."

Hey cyrus, Murtha made his announcement in November of 2005.

You do the math.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Sep 1, 2006 12:45:06 PM

Hey cyrus, Murtha made his announcement in November of 2005.

You do the math.

Posted by: Captain Toke

So you're saying that Murtha wants to get a time machine and go back to May 2006? Because for most people, "within six months" is a moving target. If you were willing to address issues rather than try to score debating points, you'd admit that if Murtha wanted immediate withdrawal in November 2005, he would have said "immediate", "imminent", or some variation on "now". Instead, he said he estimated that they could be pulled out within six months. It would be neither false, nor (necessarily) dishonest or inconsistent with the previous statement, to make the same statement today. But in that case, "within six months" would mean March 2007. How can that be? The mind boggles! I'll be generous and explain it: he is assuming that it would take six months from the decision to implement it for whatever we're calling "withdrawal" to be done without undue trouble. There, wasn't that easy?

More generally, you said you should work for the White House if you came up with this stuff but they didn't. Could it be, perhaps, that it's not as strong evidence of their case as you imagine? I mean, I don't generally make arguments from authority based on the current administration, but they are relatively good at politics. If there really was even a smidgen of evidence for the "Libruls want to, um, not fund body armor for the troops!" claim, do you think they would be relying on people like you, John Hinderaker and Rush Limbaugh to bring it to our attention? Why didn't the White House flacks in the WaPo article cite Kerry themselves, instead of a feeble "logical interpretation" of unnamed leading Democrats?

Posted by: Cyrus | Sep 1, 2006 1:52:12 PM

"Could it be, perhaps, that it's not as strong evidence of their case as you imagine? I mean, I don't generally make arguments from authority based on the current administration, but they are relatively good at politics."

I disagree. Remember when the Dems kept saying "Bush lied!" about WMD? It took the administration months to start quoting Kerry, Hillary, Rockefeller, etc. on their claims Iraq had WMD (I got a whole list of quotes by Dems claiming they have "unmistakeable" evidence that Iraq has WMD, let me know if you want to see it). Then the Democrats shut up about Bush lying about WMD. But it still took the administration months to use the Dems own words against them.

There is plenty of evidence that liberals want to cut and run. Murtha, of course, but Kerry proposed legislation calling for the pull out of troops from Iraq before the job was done, as did Feingold.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Sep 1, 2006 5:25:24 PM

No, dipshit, what most Americans want is to get our kids out of the middle of a fucking civil war.

Who do you think the enemy is? Should we kill sunnis or shea - or just kill them all? Who do we protect there? Who do we allow to die?

I am not arguing we should abandon Iraq but we did win the war we were trying to win there - your own idiot president said so years ago. So what the fuck do you really think our kids being there and being killed is going to accomplish?

Posted by: DuWayne | Sep 1, 2006 10:01:23 PM

What the fuck do you think is going to happen if we leave?

You clowns love equating this war with Vietnam, why don't you learn a little history. Check out what happened when we left Vietnam prematurely. The same thing will happen in Iraq.

I don't agree with how the war is being fought. I think we outta hammer the shit of any militia or terrorist group in Iraq, the collateral damage be damned. Most of the people in the villages where the terrorists hide support the terrorists anyway. I believe we should worry more about our troops than terrorist supporters. We need to fight this like we fought WWII.

When the Iraqi troops are ready, do you think they will be as considerate of collateral damage as we are? Hell no!

But I'd rather be fighting them over there, than over here.

I guess you need for the US to be attacked a few more times before you wake up.

What a clown.

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