Friday, March 14, 2003

Hijacking the Discussion

I want to officially register my protest against the false distinction between people who are against the war in Iraq and people who support our troops.

This is an old topic, and one that has been gone over by many other people, but I keep seeing it everywhere, and so I need to add my voice to the chorus of people screaming against this kind of trash.

I am outraged by the liars who promote this line of thought, and the simpletons who accept it and mindlessly repeat it.

It is nothing less than an intellectual hijacking of the entire pro-war/anti-war discussion. By defining the argument in terms that are favorable to the pro-war crowd, they make it logically impossible for the anti-war position to be the the correct one, no matter what is said or done by the anti-war people.

It is also a textbook of example of a false dilemma, yet another logical fallacy (which is a horse I will continue to beat until it is dead, dead, dead. And then I will beat it some more). By saying that everybody is either a) For war or b) Against the troops, without allowing for the possibility that there are people for whom both a and b are false, the pro-war faction completely abandons any attempt at rational discussion, and descends to the level of merely currying favor with the masses through dishonest rhetoric (that would be Lies, for the less polite among us).

This has been a common tactic of the Republican Party since at least the Vietnam war, and as we get closer and closer to invading Iraq, the occasional lobbing of verbal manure in the general direction of the Left has become a solid wall of bullshit that needs to be tunneled through in order to go anywhere.

While that may be a slightly disgusting metaphor, it is perfectly appropriate, because it exactly captures the purpose of such obfuscation: it puts those who oppose war on the defensive, needing to first refute bogus charges of animus towards US troops before they can even begin to discuss the war on its merits.

It's a dirty tactic used by dirty people, and it displays a certain brand of intellectual cowardice in that it loads the dice in their favor, something which would not be necessary if they truly believed they were as right as they claim they are.

I am still officially a fence-sitter (though not, I fear, for much longer), but cheating in order to score cheap rhetorical points does not help convince me to join the pro-war cause.

So I say to anyone who thinks we should go to war: If you want to keep attracting the idiot hordes to your side, continue doing what you are doing. If you want to convince the more thoughtful people, instead of just shouting them down, knock it the fuck off.

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