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November 19, 2005

Comments

Winston Smith

? ? ? ? ?
"They remind me of the kind of place that Winston likes to link to, sites which consider facts inconvenient."
? ? ? ? ? ?
"Hardball"?

"Newsweek"??

You'll provide examples, I'm sure.

Winston Smith

http://hubris.typepad.com/> Oh! I get it!

Mark V.

"Is this the old "they did it, so i can do it" argument? Didn't your Mom tell you that this is an evil and silly argument?"
(Author: Averroes)

Averroes

Winston:

["They remind me of the kind of place that Winston likes to link to, sites which consider facts inconvenient."
? ? ? ? ? ?
"Hardball"?

"Newsweek"??

You'll provide examples, I'm sure. ]

No need. You have. Unfortunately.

Matthews said on a show recently, "they told us that Saddam had a nuclear weapon."

newsweek tpold us that a Koran had been flushed down a toilet at Gitmo.

And, in fact, I do think that you were one of the many people have blind-linked us to Daily Kos (that's the only way i ever wind up at leftist or rightist sites. In fact, i made it through the entire presidential campaign without visiting the kerry site, and hit the Bush site only once-on a blind link. Man, did I ever get out of there in a hurry!)

But, to be honest, I often accuse you with someone on another board who always links to Commondreams and other such sites.

But, to be even more honest, i was thinking here of a specifioc example, and when i went back to check, it was really Darkhorse. So, my apologies.

[For reference, Darkhorse gave us quotes from a site that misleadingly used the "It's about imminent" answer AS IF it had something to do with iraq being an imminent threat to the US. They did this (I don't think Darkhorse would do this) by not providing the entire question and answer sequeence needed to put the line in context.]

Averroes

Mark: ""Is this the old "they did it, so i can do it" argument? Didn't your Mom tell you that this is an evil and silly argument?""

Didn't make that argument, mark.

Isn't that right, pyrrho?

Averroes

Er-Winston, that should be "confuse" you, not "accuse" you, although i suspect there is something Freudian in there.

Averroes

btw, the site Darkhorse referenced is "Brad DeLong's site." I know nothing about it. Politically, it cold be rightist, leftist, Republican, democratic, neither, or even apolitical, so far as i know.

The point is that the author is not concerned with presenting the truth or the facts, for whatever reason.

i am sure that Darkhorse will, because he is a man of science and truth, avoid the site from now on. And i am sure that the rest of us will now know enough to avoid it.

Mark V.

Those in Congress who voted for the “Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq” cannot be absolved of their responsibility for the war. They may have succumbed to various influences, which may range from political expedience to a certain view of the role of the US in the world, or voted for any other kinds of reasons.

To suggest, however, that their responsibility (or “guilt”) is the same, or even greater, than that of the Commander in Chief is unreasonable for several reasons. One is purely formal, based on our system of government. The Congress legislates, the Administration executes. To authorize the use of force is not the same as to use the power. The laws authorize the police to take certain actions against alleged perpetrators of a crime. When the police uses or misuse the power, it is the police that is responsible, not those who made the law.

The resolution was clear: “The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate”

It was left up to the President to decide whether the war was “necessary and appropriate.” His was the ultimate responsibility for judging the intelligence and the consequences of the action.

The proposition that “some who have damned the president for speaking in terms of certainty are here bound by logic and morality to hold Schumer even more guilty” is disingenuous. It appears to be based on the poor wording of Shumer’s response “I wasn't as sure of it (the intelligence) as the president was.” The above proposition is poor logic. If a senator is shown intelligence that might require the US to use force, and the senator is asked to vote for or against the war resolution which authorizes the President to use force “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate,” he is not the one who should be most certain – it is the President.

It is also unreasonable to make much of Shumer’s response to the statement: “Senator, you read the intelligence and you came to the same conclusion the President did.” SCHUMER: “Yes.” Implicit in the emphasis on that response is the often repeated argument of Bush supporters and apologists that the Congress saw the same intelligence as the President. If Shumer answered the question with the understanding that “intelligence” means “same intelligence as the President,” than he made a mistake. When the President said: “That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power,” one can only conclude that he was lying by any definition of the word “lie.”

Here are the words of former senator Kerrey: “You know, he (Bush) goes to Pennsylvania on veterans day and says, you saw the same intelligence I did. For gosh sakes, Richard (Pearle), I know you're upset that people are calling the president a liar.

But he's got to know that Congress doesn't see the same intel. We, on the 9/11 commission, had to subpoena documents in order to see the presidential daily briefing and even then, we just saw limited version of it.”

Averroes

Mark, the piece has nothing whatsoever to do with the authorization, nor even with whether or not Schumer saw the same intellience or not.

Try to stay on task.

Mark V.

Averroes,

The piece contains subjects I commented on. Are you trying now to control what people may or may not comment about? You never felt restrained that way before.

Nussmier

Ok here is the problem I have:

Question
C. WALLACE: Senator, you read the intelligence and you came to the same
conclusion the president did.

Av statement:
He agrees that he saw the same intelligence the president did, and came to the same conclusion

The question said did he see intelligence. It doesnt ask if he saw the same intelligence as the president. I don't see how the connection can be made.

Averroes

Mark: "The piece contains subjects I commented on. Are you trying now to control what people may or may not comment about? You never felt restrained that way before."

That is all true. there is a general ethos on the 'net of sdtaying on topic in a thread, but it has never coinstrained me.

I wasn't saying you were revil here, mark. I just wanted to discuss the argument in the piewce before wandering. Else one might be forced to conclude that those wanting to wander without answering the argument are merely trying to avoid it. and why that would be is in itself an interesting question.

I must admit that your response raised interesting questions, and i had to restrain myself rfrom reflexively giving answser. We might get into them later.

Averroes

Nussmier: "The question said did he see intelligence. It doesnt ask if he saw the same intelligence as the president. I don't see how the connection can be made."

Good point. i could be a stickler and say that if he hadn't seen the same intelligence, he would have said so. But i think you are right, and have been more exact.

But this does not effect the actual argument of the piece, which has to do with speaking as if one is sure.

I think the matter of who saw what intelligence is overblown anyway. The intelligence available to the prewsident is routinely available to the House and Senate Intelligence committees. These committees can make intelligence available to other members of those bodies if they ask. (Here we have the problem of how one kknows to ask for something he doesn't know exists.)

When the NIe came to the Congress, it caontained the same kind of summary that the president gets. It came with an "executive summary." We now know thatonly 6 senators bothered to get and read the entire report, most relying on the execuitive summary. A member of the House intelligence committee this weekend said that he was prevented by rules from saying how many Representatives actually read the NIE before the vote, but intimnated that it was small, and the American people would be upset if theyknew how few Representatives bothered to get the informatin before the vote.

From the Silberman-Robb report, we know that the intelligence that the policy makers get tends to be written in more emphatic language and with few or no caveats. It seems that if the Congress had gpotten the same intelligence as the administration, they would have beren MORE eager to vote it in, not less. (this commission, unlike the SSCI, had access to the PDF's, the daily briefings from intelligence. They have suggested doing away with them.) From the report, discussing some of the problems, one here in particular:

"Overemphasis on and underperformance in daily intelligence products. As problematic as the October 2002 NIE was, it was not the Community's biggest analytic failure on Iraq. Even more misleading was the river of intelligence that flowed from the CIA to top policymakers over long periods of time--in the President's Daily Brief (PDB) and in its more widely distributed companion, the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB). These daily reports were, if anything, more alarmist and less nuanced than the NIE. It was not that the intelligence was markedly different. Rather, it was that the PDBs and SEIBs, with their attention-grabbing headlines and drumbeat of repetition, left an impression of many corroborating reports where in fact there were very few sources. And in other instances, intelligence suggesting the existence of weapons programs was conveyed to senior policymakers, but later information casting doubt upon the validity of that intelligence was not. In ways both subtle and not so subtle, the daily reports seemed to be "selling" intelligence--in order to keep its customers, or at least the First Customer, interested."

When i reread the beginning sections of the SSCI report, i realized why the CIA view kept sinning out. They and they alone have direct access to the administration. While the rest of the agencies are suypposed to and do have access to the IC, the CIA rep[orts directly to the administration. It is they who form the PDF's.

But here, the question i posed involves how to speak politically when what you have to say is not 100% certain.

Mark V.

Averroes: “I just wanted to discuss the argument in the piewce before wandering. Else one might be forced to conclude that those wanting to wander without answering the argument are merely trying to avoid it. and why that would be is in itself an interesting question.”

OK, Averroes, you got me here, and I must confess. I have no idea what your argument in this piece was.

Averroes

Mark, look in paragraphs 32, 4, and 5 after the quote from Fox News Sunday. Please do not pretend that there is no argument there. Look for "if this....then that...." and then the other argument in the fifth paragraph after the quote.

Averroes

Shoulkd be, of course, 3, 4, and 5.

Kav

c'mon Av. with you paragraph 32 is not out of the question! ;-)

Averroes

That's right, kav, and why i felt it necessary to put in the correction.

Winston Smith

http://begthequestion.info/old/> March for philosophical and argumentative clarity!

Mark V.

Averroes,
I was not in any way facetious when I wrote that I did not have any idea what your argument was. What I meant, naturally, was that I did not know which argument is there that “has nothing whatsoever to do with the authorization, nor even with whether or not Schumer saw the same intellience or not,” as you wrote.
As I read the piece and paragraphs 2, 4 and 5 again, what I see is an argument structured this way (I am almost sure you will dispute some of it, but I am doing the best I can):
1. People argue that the president is guilty of stating things (intelligence) as if he were sure about them, although he was not sure.
2. Shumer said when he voted for the war resolution that Saddam’s pursuit of WMD and potential support for terrorists made him a danger, as if he were sure.
3. Shumer now says he was less sure than the President about the same things, while agreeing that he saw intelligence.
4. Therefore, those who damn the president because he spoke in terms of certainty, and mislead us into war, should hold Schumer even more guilty.
Unfortunately, it is not clear at all what is the precise meaning of part 4) of the argument, i.e., what should those people hold Schumer guilty of: a) of misleading us into war (as paragraph 4 would suggest), or b) simply of speaking in terms of certainty, when he was not, by his admission, quite certain. Thus we have to examine both alternatives.
(If I am still missing the argument, I apologize.)
From the general viewpoint the above argument is not very fair. It uses the unprepared, unrehearsed words of a senator in response to questions of a commentator, while the issue of President’s words is one of very carefully prepared statements. If Schumer had made a prepared statement on this subject, he most likely would have been much more precise. But let’s set that aside. More importantly, my post about authorization and whether the senator saw the same intelligence as the President did have much to do with the above argument.
First, when Schumer made the statement summarized above under 2), he was explaining his vote for the resolution. Implicit in his statement is: I saw intelligence that shows Saddam to be grave danger, therefore, I am voting to authorize the President to use force as HE determines to be “necessary and appropriate.” The question of whether the Senator saw the same evidence as the President thus becomes very pertinent.
What could Schumer be held guilty of, based on the words quoted in the clips?
A. At the time of the vote Schumer was not quite sure of the intelligence, but still expressed a firm belief in it.
He might be faulted for this, but there is a huge difference between a Senator explaining a vote for authorization, and the President presenting to the nation the reasons for going to war. A Senator did not have to be as sure as the President about the intelligence, because he/she voted to authorize the President to take action with the understanding and requirement that the President would determine if it were “necessary and appropriate.” If Schumer had his doubts about the intelligence, but his consideration was as he said: “I believe in a post-9/11 world, …, that the president does need latitude to keep our national security strong,” his statement before the vote expressed the reasons why the President should have the authority to act. The President, on the other hand, stated the reasons for the actual war action. A much higher degree of certainty was needed.
B. Schumer originally was quite sure of the intelligence, but he says he was not, and he says that now for reasons of political expediency.
We may suspect this, but we lack the evidence in his quoted words.
Neither of the two alternatives above gives a reason for a charge that Schumer mislead us into war. While I personally disagree with the votes in favor of the authorization, I respect the argument of those who voted for but now oppose the war when they say that they only authorized Bush to act. They bear some reposibility for the war. But the ultimate responsibility for both the explanation and the action was still the President’s, who was required to consider if war was “necessary and appropriate.”

pyrrho

Mark: ""Is this the old "they did it, so i can do it" argument? Didn't your Mom tell you that this is an evil and silly argument?""

Didn't make that argument, mark.

Isn't that right, pyrrho?

Perhaps what is referred to is the fact that we are treated to notice that Democrats made the same "liar or stupid?" dichotmatic mistake.

I read an implicit apologia, once again... for you do not condemn the president his mistake, I assume you do not condemn Schumer his, and in the end, offer the one to persuade partisans to get their own house in order.

For my part, I'm not a partisan, least of all in this regard, I think the actions of the Democrats are not only reprehensible but also strategically entirely inept, which might be pertinent if one assumes their actions were intended to be politic and strategic.

This campaign of using their words against them will likely be affective, as their words do bear against them. It does not make Bush more reliable, more competant, more deserving of a vote in 2004, or his faction of the party more deserving going forward.

pyrrho

btw: begs the question means exactly what people think it means, and there are two connotations... one of them does in fact mean "requires another question be asked..." and good that it does as the phrase naturally implies that!

Why someone tried to use the phrase for the concept of circular reasoning is some historic strangeness as we often see in naming old logical systems... in which it was fine to just assign the phrase to some arbitrary logical construction.

It makes much more sense in the first connotation AND need for that connotation arises far more often.

Finally... "circular reasoning" is a much more apt name for circular reasoning at any rate.

pyrrho

http://www.workingforchange.com/comic.cfm?itemid=19887

"stupid or lying?" and it even covers the "everyone knew Joe had a wife" angle nicely.

pyrrho

linked version for above

Averroes

Mark:

1. People argue that the president is guilty of stating things (intelligence) as if he were sure about them, although he was not sure.
2. Shumer said when he voted for the war resolution that Saddam’s pursuit of WMD and potential support for terrorists made him a danger, as if he were sure.
3. Shumer now says he was less sure than the President about the same things, while agreeing that he saw intelligence.
4. Therefore, those who damn the president because he spoke in terms of certainty, and mislead us into war, should hold Schumer even more guilty.

Mark, you are right, there are two arguments here, that in the third, and that inthe fourth. the one i am interested in most is in the third.

It is quite straitforward. if it is a crime to state in terms of certainty that which you know is uncertain, then Bush and Schumer are both guilty of the crime. But, as i predicted, you have done some wriggling.

And, as everyone has been happy to miss, I argued that neither is guilty of a crime. this is because i think it falls into the uual rubric of political rhetoric, and I don't think we should expect politicians to talk like....well. like whom? Who doesn't state things not known for sure with certainty?

Note, in an example that pyrrho has avoided at least 5 times now, when Clinton bombed the pharmaceutical factory in Sudan because, he said with certainty, they were making chemical weapons, we didn't hear any great poutrage from preople bnecause he spoke withcertainty about something he couldn't have known with certainty, and which, in fact, turned out to be wrong. In fact, the Clinton administrtrion never admitted that it was wrong, even when igt became obvious. the closest they came was declining to oppose a lawsuit brought against our government by the factory owner. So, CLINTON (I say this the way the antiBushites would say IT) blew up this factory. Tis caused many deaths because the mediciens it would have made were not available, and cost our government whatever the settlement was. it also cost us our good name in the world, as those who would bomb innocent fac toiories on a whim, as well as the Chinese embassy just because we didn't like their policy.

Was Clinton lying, incompetent, or both?

The fact is, mark, that the crime involved, for those who argue it is, is exactly the same in each instance. There are no arguments excusing it, and you wouldn't accept any for Bush. And you certainly won't accept my argument which excuses both Schumer and Bush, simply because it excuses Bush.

Note that assessing the "crime" has nothig to do with how information is acquired. it has only to do with whether or not the person was sure of what he said with certainty. So no argument about who saw what intelligenc3e matters here.

But it is interesting that we don't know whether bush actually harbored any doubt. We have Schumer's word that he did. unless you consider him a liar.

As for trusting answers off the cuff to questions, I have made that argument myself in the many cases of people damning Cheney's remarks on question and answer programs like MtP. You didn't buy the argument then, mark.

Besides, the relevant quote, the one from the video clip gieven above, was a speech made on the floor of the Senate. Do you think maybe that Sen. Schumer was delivering prepared remarks? or do you think he simply wings it on the floor? I've seen him reading from a paper, which would have notes, at least. I don't kow for sure in that case but my bet is that he was delivering prepared remarks. With certainty.

To me, if youthink that this is a crime, then it is a crime in both cases. The attempt to keep it a criome for one and not the other is instructive about the attempter.

He might be faulted for this, but there is a huge difference between a Senator explaining a vote for authorization, and the President presenting to the nation the reasons for going to war. A Senator did not have to be as sure as the President about the intelligence, because he/she voted to authorize the President to take action with the understanding and requirement that the President would determine if it were “necessary and appropriate.” If Schumer had his doubts about the intelligence, but his consideration was as he said: “I believe in a post-9/11 world, …, that the president does need latitude to keep our national security strong,” his statement before the vote expressed the reasons why the President should have the authority to act. The President, on the other hand, stated the reasons for the actual war action.

You must be dizzy and sick from all this spinning. All, I mean ALL of this is irrelvant. AND misleading.

Quickly, the responsibility for the war belongs squarely on the backs of the only people in our government who cfan take us to war, the Congress. you know my feelings. no one who voted for the authorization should ever hold any office, elected or appointed, again, at any level of government. If Bush had made going to war in iraq his only priority, if he had refused to sign any law, to perform any task, to meet any diplomt, to allow any executive functions to be carried out, until we went to war in iraq, we still would not have gone to war without the Congress. Congress is the sine qua non of war here n the US. And it doesn't help that the authorization was structured so that it justified war on the day it was passed. one wonders why a president whom everyone seems to think was bent on war, waited as long as he did.

BTW, last time i checked, at the time of the authorization, both houses of congress were controlled by REpublicans. The Democrats in the House had no chance. The only hope was the Senate Democrats.

Neither of the two alternatives above gives a reason for a charge that Schumer mislead us into war.

Really? He misled us, to be sure. and his misleading was done in the directioon of war.

Now, the argument is made, it is a stupid one, to be sure, that Bush misled us into war, because he made statements and convinced the American people that war was necessary. (This argument is false on its face. No one has proved that people believe something because the president states it.)

Bush's statements played to a certain choir, who believed what he said because they were supporters, or solid Republicans, or who simply believed that a war was necessary. But those people don't matter, and were not enough to swing the popularr support for war. instead, those naturally suspicious of the president had to be convinced, whether they be Democrats or simply people who don';t trust politicians in general, or who don't like war.

Now, let's take one of Mr. Schumer's constituents, one who, like most people in his state, voted for him. One suspects that he is naturally suspicious of the president and the administration. now suppose he reads about the cincinnati speech. i doubt very much if h4e would be convinced by this speech. But now, within several days, Mr. Schumer comes out and makes the same case. NOW he might be convinced. And then add in Mrs. Clinton, also voted in by the same constituency. She makes the same case.

The question is simple. Would those not naturally in the presidents camp be more likely to be convinced by Bush or by Democrats? the answer is clear. My GUESS is that without people like Schumer making the same case with regard to iraq and Saddam, there never would have formed a popular consensus behind the president.

While Schumer did not see the same intelligence as the president, that that he saw was presented with more caveats, the evidence shows. those on the Intelligence Committee, like Mr. Edwards, had access to the same intelligence. Some of them made the same case. Who do you think it was that convinced the necessary Democrats in our country to accept the arguments of the rival party?

But the ultimate responsibility for both the explanation and the action was still the President’s, who was required to consider if war was “necessary and appropriate.”

The president was required to determine eoither of two things:

1) Diplomatic efforts were unlikely to resolve the situration; or

2) Iraq remained in defiance of "the relevant UN resolutions."

The first is qalways arguable. one could, for example, argue that dfiplomatic efforts would have avoided war with japan after Pearl Harbor. What if the Congress at that time had failed to declare war, but rather authorized FDR to start a war if "Japan has attacked Americans.?" We would say, as we surely can here, that the "authorizationh" was a cowardly attempt to ignore constitutional responsiblility for a war that the authorization made inevitable for political reasons.

You see, at the time of the authorization, there was no question that iraq was in violation of several UN resolutions, and little question that they would continue to be so.

To me, "I just voted for the authorization, not the war" is chickenshit. And i don't care who says it, Republican or Democrat. even after the authorization, and before the war, CONGRESS could have voted again to withdraw the authorization. You see, for those who said it was only to give the president clout at the UN, it had fulfilled (at first) or not (later) that function, and was no longer needed.

The way Americans do things is for a president 2ho thin=ks we should go to 3war to bring this bvefore Congress and ask for a declaration. Congress, CONGRESS, is required by our constitution to insist on this.
what they did was to find a way to pretend that they weren't responsible.

But they were, and, since we have the evidence in the vote for authorization, we should throw the bums out. forever.

Bt it is my guess is that some hypocrites will vote for president, FOR PRESIDENT, in 2008, and cast their votes for someone who voted for this authorization.

these people belong on the lowest wrung of hell.

IMNSHO.

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