Saturday, December 16, 2006

 

My response to Hesham's Response

So it was Hesham's spam filter that blocked my comment. He then replied, and tired of using red herrings, I guess, resorted to attacking straw men and ad hominem attacks. I guess that he is trying to cover all the logical fallacies he can. Anyway, here is my response to his response, and yes, this one also triggered his spam filter. I have added the links on this one for anyone who wants to read about them.

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Hesham,

No problem on the delay. I’ll try to leave html out of this one so that the spam filters don’t get triggered. Either way, this is your blog, you can post what you want, you have no obligation to post my stuff here.

Let me try to answer your questions:

“Did the hundred of thousands of people that perished as a result of the US invasion killed for WMDs? Where any found?”

Obviously, everyone knows that the answer to your second question is no, no WMDs have been found. I guess that you are not disputing my point that everyone in the world except the Iraqis and Scott Ritter believed that they did have them. If you do have a citation to someone else who thought that they didn’t *before the war*, I would be interested in seeing it. There may be others, but it seems beyond dispute that almost everyone did think that they did.

I think that your first question got garbled, but I’m guessing that you are asking who is responsible for all the deaths in Iraq. Obviously the invasion by the US and her allies allowed the current situation to result.

Look, you don’t like the invasion. Fine. Then put yourself in the place of George Bush and tell me what the right thing to do is given that:
1) your intelligence services and indeed, all the intelligence services in the world are telling you that Saddam has a WMD program.
2) support for lifting the sanctions is spreading, in large part because of the bribery that is taking place from the Oil for Food program, and because the way that sanctions are (probably rightly) being blamed for the deaths of large numbers of Iraqi children.
3) Saddam, if left in power, will almost certainly be succeeded by Uday or Qusay, who are arguable even worse.
4) the UN Security Council, despite passing Resolution 1441, which stated that the “Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations”, is willing to do nothing to prevent further violations.

If Saddam were still in power today, it seems almost certain that the sanctions would have been lifted. If so, then according to the Duelfer Report, “Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability—which was essentially destroyed in 1991—after sanctions were removed”. So without the invasion, we would have Saddam, who twice attacked his neighbors, and then his sons, brutalizing the country, while developing WMDs. If you can say absolutely that that situation would be better, especially in the long term, than what is happening (and will happen yet) in Iraq, fine. I don’t think that it is an open and shut case.

“Besides our favorite dictator, which other government has a history of using chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons against civilians?”

The US is clearly the only power to use nuclear weapons against anyone, civilian or otherwise. Most of the nations in WWI used chemical weapons. According to this page,
biological warfare has been used since the 6th Century BC. The US may have tried to use biological weapons against the North Koreans and Chinese during the Korean War, but it is far from certain. If you believe that the US is forever forbidden from doing anything in international affairs because we nuked Japan, fine. I disagree.

As an aside, I have no idea where you are getting the 500,000 figure for deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The usual numbers that I have seen are 140,000 for Hiroshima, 80,000 for Nagasaki. The total population of both cities combined was only about 500,000 at the time of the bombings. You are right in that there were some sources that state that the Japanese were willing to surrender before the bombings. But that is far from certain; all we do know for certain that they did not surrender before the bombings. If it would have taken an invasion to defeat the Japanese, then I do not see how you can possibly argue that the bombings did not save more Japanese lives than it took. Just in the Battle for Okinawa, 50 to 150 thousand civilians were killed, and at least 60,000 soldiers. Obviously the prime consideration was the prevention of US casualties, but that doesn’t negate that the bombings killed far fewer Japanese than an invasion would have.

“So the US was ok to participate in the Nazi Olympics in 1936 since the holocaust didn’t occur until 1938?”

I believe what I said was that you had your facts wrong. I guess that you are conceding that, albeit only by attacking what I didn’t say. You didn’t say that the US was wrong for participating, you said that we were wrong for participating because of the holocaust.

It is always easy in hindsight to say what was right and what was wrong. How about this: Can you please provide a list of all the countries that were more morally foresighted than the US and did boycott the games? Depending on how extensive the list is, maybe we can decide if this is a fair criticism of the US.

“The Nazi ideology has always been racists and evil, whether it was 1930, 1936 or 1938 or 2006.”

I defy you to show where I wrote anything that would contradict that.

“Your logic of

1936 Nazi is Good
1938 Nazi is Bad”

I admit it, you easily defeated the argument made by that straw man. However, if you want to address me instead of him, you will notice that I did not say “1936 Nazi is Good”, I said that the holocaust did not begin until 1938. I actually wrote a line something like “Of course bad things were happening in Germany in 1936, but it was not clear at that time just how evil the regime was” but took it out since it seemed so obvious that it insulted your intelligence by including it.

“Is a good example of why education should not be served like fast food; all you get at the end is junk.”

So is this aimed at my education or yours? You seem to be the only person getting their facts wrong in this discussion.

== Begining long quote ==
“…difference between having your facts wrong and lying…”

“That’s ok for me and you, but if the secretary of state, defense and the head of the CIA call for action based on evidence that are “certain and accurate” then it is one of three things:”

“1. They are incompetent
2. They are lying
3. Both”

“Even if I go along with your “having you facts wrong” argument, then who is responsible for not only Iraqi deaths but American as well?”"
== Ending long quote ==

So then you are admitting that I’m right? That simply calling administration officials liars because they are wrong about WMDs is not only wrong but a shallow and superficial argument? After all, option 1 would seem to prove that you think that that is possible that they are not lying.

Look, the administration blew it on the WMD intelligence. I admit it. I never stated otherwise. I did say that they were not the only ones, and that it is not clear that they were lying. You aren’t disputing that here.

“Grab a good book at the library you work at and take the time to actually read some of the books on politics and law, and stop laughing at people that don’t agree with you…this is not 1938 anymore….”

A) You have no idea how much or what I read, just like I have no idea of your reading habits. Perhaps instead of trying to be insulting about me, my education, and my personal habits, you could instead address my arguments?
B) I didn’t laugh at anyone. I pointed out several factual errors you made (errors that you do not dispute making) and I tried to present reasoned, point-by-point explanations for why I disagreed with you. I pointed out my belief that you don’t understand the US as well as you think you do.
C) I have no idea what the 1938 reference is supposed to mean.

“Come on, if you really believe any of the stuff you have written then I can send you a few books from Amazon that you really must read.”

I’m not sure what stuff you think that I can’t possibly believe. You haven’t stated any fact that you think that I have wrong. You have completely dropped the discussion of my original point about AJE. Instead you just keep bringing up more reasons why you don’t like the US. If you want to post some books that would be good for explaining what I am wrong about something I wrote here, I’ll be willing to take a look at it. If you want to state some reason why what I wrote here is wrong, I’ll gladly look at it. Or you can continue to raise red herrings and attack straw men.

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