Thursday, June 01, 2006

An Omelette

Today I came across the most intellectually dishonest, morally bankrupt argument I have read in a long, long time. Presenting Carol Platt Liebau on Haditha:

Although there's no chance they'll heed them, here are some guidelines that the left would be well advised to follow:

(1) Stop attacking or condemning our soldiers until you have the facts.

(2) Make some effort to put the accusations into perspective. If 24 civilians were unjustifiably killed, it's a terrible, terrible crime and those responsible deserve to be fully prosecuted. But it's also worth noting that our soldiers liberated 25 million Iraqis from Saddam Hussein's murderous regime. That means that American soldiers freed more than a million people for every one that was wrongly killed (if that, indeed, is what happened).

Or, to put it another way, according to this site, 2119 Americans have died as a result of hostile fire. So for each of the 24 Iraqis who may have been wrongly killed, more than 88 Americans have died in the cause of helping Iraq become a free and secure country -- and even more if you count the deaths that weren't attributable to hostile fire, but were nonetheless given in the Iraqi cause.

(3) Treat America's soldiers as respectfully as you do its enemies. Many leftists are appalled at the lack of constitutional safeguards being bestowed upon the enemy combatants sequestered at Guantanamo Bay. Don't our own Marines deserve the same kind of regard for their rights (including a presumption of innocence until guilt is proved) that the left seems to believe is the entitlement of America's enemies?

Just a rule of thumb: Give America's fighting men and women at least the same modicum of respect that you accord to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Be as reluctant to use harsh words, offer sweeping condemnations, or prejudge their motives, intent and actions as you are Kim Jung Il's. Be as willing to offer them the benefit of the doubt as you've been to offer it to Saddam Hussein on the matter of WMD's.

Comments: On number (1), fair enough, to a point. I don't think most people are "attacking" or "condemning" the soldiers involved, so much as expressing outrage, with the same important caveat Liebau uses herself: if that, indeed, is what happened. Certainly there is room to revise opinions as more is learned. In a larger sense, most of the outrage, on the left and elsewhere, has been at the apparent coverup and at the system that enables events like this (again, if that, indeed, is what happened), Abu Ghraib, etc. and the associated coverups.

Skipping ahead, number (3) is just ridiculous. First off, the presumption of innocence applies in a court of law (remember those?). The public is entitled to leap to whatever conclusions it chooses. In my travels on the internets, I haven't seen anyone arguing that the grunts who did this (if that, indeed, is what happened) should be strung up without a trial -- indeed, it is a special tactic of the right to scream for the New York Times, Washington Post, John Murtha, etc. to be frog-marched off and locked away for treason, pronto.

Next, putting forth the straw man that any serious, sober Americans have less respect for U.S. troops than for foreign dictators is just beneath contempt. Who has done this? What examples can she cite? It's ridiculous.

But it's point number (2) that drags this baby deep, deep into the mud. Talk about a false equivalency! There are so many things wrong with this argument, I don't know where to begin. First off, obviously a fuck of a lot more than 24 Iraqis have been killed in this fiasco. Comparing the total number of U.S. soldiers killed, in over 3 years, to the number of civilians massacred in a single day, if that, indeed, is what happened, is like comparing the level of violence in the entire nation of Iraq to that in a single major U.S. city. What kind of grade would you get if you used that argument in a freshman level logic class? And since when is the "cause" of this war "helping Iraq become a free and secure country"?

But the bigger problem is in linking them at all, as if the Haditha massacre, if that, indeed, is what happened, were a natural and inevitable byproduct of the liberation (sic) of Iraq. Can you make an omelette without breaking eggs? No, you can't. Leaving aside the question of whether we've accomplished the mission of making an Iraqi omelette, was breaking these particular eggs a necessary part of that process? Of course not. That's the whole point about the Haditha massacre, if that, indeed, is what happened. If it were a necessary, natural consequence of warfare, the military wouldn't be preparing to charge the soldiers involved with criminal acts, would it? Perspective? Yeesh.

I've seen bag ladies on the corner who made more sense than Liebau does in this article. So who is she anyway?
Carol Platt Liebau is an attorney, political analyst and commentator based near Los Angeles, California. She serves as a guest host for the nationally-syndicated “Hugh Hewitt Show” and for KABC radio in Los Angeles, and has appeared on PBS, CNN, the Fox News Channel, MSNBC and “The Dennis Miller Show.”

. . .

She is a 1989 graduate of Princeton University, where she served as Editorial Chairman of The Daily Princetonian, and Harvard Law School, where she graduated in 1992 as the first female managing editor of The Harvard Law Review.

Carol has been a law clerk for Reagan appointee Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, legislative assistant to Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond of Missouri, and a consultant to the 1994 Senate campaign of John D. Ashcroft. She also practiced appellate law for four years in her home town of St. Louis.

Unfuckingbelievable. Princeton. Harvard. D.C. Circuit. U.S. Senate. Not exactly marginalized on the lunatic fringe, let alone a shabby street corner.

It must take a lot of Kool Aid to wash down that omelette.

1 comment:

Julie Pippert said...

I think Ivy league schools only screen grades, not intelligence or sanity.

That was a blathery load off horsepatooty she wrote.

She kind of lost me at her original premise that we have any right to be there, and soldiers in a war being shot is an unusual outcome during an occupation.

Your breakdown of her weak and watery logic was excellent.

I hope you see this, anyway.