Wednesday, March 02, 2005

What's Latin For "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose"?

I realize I've probably overused this metaphor, but is there a more striking example of the Left sticking its fingers in its collective ears and humming at the top of its lungs that this?

But it literally never crossed my mind that Bush's fans would credit him with for this positive event, as though his pro-democracy speeches exercise some sort of rhetorical enchantment.

Is Ed Kilgore kidding? I'd think that would have crossed his mind as soon as the Cedar Revolution broke out, even in a cynical "I'll bet those neocon !#$%^&*s try to tie this to Bush's illegal warmongering Iraq occupation quagmire disaster!" way.

This is the kind of thinking, of course, that has convinced God knows how many people that Ronald Reagan personally won the Cold War.

Was there any doubt that he'd take a fresh swipe at the Gipper, who happens to be the last president prior to Dubya with courage and bold vision?

It's the old post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this) logical fallacy.

I could buy that in the abstract assuming that President Reagan during his tenure, and President Bush during his, had maintained the foreign policy status quo. But then if either of them had, the Left wouldn't detest them, and the dramatic changes they brought about in the world wouldn't have happened.

You can tell Kilgore doesn't have any ammo to back up this act of denial by what he writes next:

This is a President and an Administration that chronically refuse to accept responsibility for the bad things that have happened on their watch - even things like the insurgency in Iraq that are directly attributable to its policies.

That comment itself is a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Indeed, it's the same one, the only difference being that it agrees with Kilgore's biases instead of running counter to them. How is it that GDub is obligated to "accept responsibility for the bad things that have happened on [his] watch" - note the passive phrasing - but is not entitled to credit for all the good things that have happened on his watch? When did you stop beating your wife, Ed?

Of course, Kilgore doesn't bother to substantiate that last charge about the "insurgency" being a product of Administration policies, as though Zarqawi was taking orders from the White House. Probably he means that with no invasion, there'd have been no insurgency. Even that isn't true, though; all that would have meant is that the "insurgency" wouldn't have taken place in Iraq. It would, however, have been free to attack us elsewhere, including right here at home, as - SHAZAM! - the alleged Osama bin Laden urged Zarqawi to do just the other day. And, absent the invasion, Zarqawi would have been in a much stronger position to do just that.

It just brings us back to the core truth of the matter, which is that our enemies have never possessed the ability to defeat us; defeat could, and can, only come if we choose to lose by cutting and running. And all cutting and running would accomplish is to bring the war closer to our shores once again.

For all that giants like Washington and Lincoln and Churchill are lauded as "visionaries," I sometimes wonder if their distinction didn't derive from a simple hard-headed willingness to see and deal with the world as it actually was, and the courage to stay the course through the difficult steps that process entailed.

The fact remains, though, that Washington was surrounded by doubters and deserters during the Revolutionary War, Lincoln was widely despised and lampooned by the self-styled "elites" of his day, and Churchill was dismissed as a crank and a warmonger for being the lone voice in Britain warning of the mortal threat posed by Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany. Ronald Reagan belongs in the pantheon - perhaps even in its penthouse, for he sparked the fall of a planetary empire without firing a shot - and George W. Bush is well on his way to the same destination.

Even Kilgore inadvertently admits it:

Barring any specific evidence (provided, say, by Lebanese pro-democracy leaders) that Bush had anything in particular to do with Syria's setbacks in Lebanon, I see no particular reason to high-five him for being in office when they happened.

Just because Kilgore doesn't want to see the "particular reasons" doesn't mean they don't exist.

Here's the "specific evidence," BTW:

The leader of this Lebanese intifada [for independence from Syria] is Walid Jumblatt, the patriarch of the Druze Muslim community and, until recently, a man who accommodated Syria's occupation. But something snapped for Jumblatt last year, when the Syrians overruled the Lebanese constitution and forced the reelection of their front man in Lebanon, President Emile Lahoud. The old slogans about Arab nationalism turned to ashes in Jumblatt's mouth, and he and Hariri openly began to defy Damascus...

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it." [my emphases]

Walid Jumblatt can see it. Boy Assad can see it. Hosni Mubarek can see it.

And so can Ed Kilgore and his fellow –travelers.

Which is why they’re trying so desperately to deny it.

I love Stephen Green’s peroration:

Smile, [Ed] - we're winning the damn war. Why can't you admit, just once, that the guy in charge is doing an OK job?

[Hat tip: Captain's Quarters]

UPDATE: Welcome, Pseudo-Polymath readers! Have a look around, take a load off, and enjoy a tall, frosty beverage in Ten-Forward!