Adina Levin's weblog. For conversation about books I've been reading, social software, and other stuff too.
What do do about this?
From a comment on Adam Rice’s blog
“Two weeks ago, my husband
A large number of voters believe an invisible man in the sky watches their every move, will damn them to eternal hellfire if they don’t do what He wants, but He loves you! (With apologies to George Carlin.) I’ve had conversations with folks who still believe Saddam caused 9/11. “Come on, you just know he did,” is a common thread in the conversations. It appears to be based on a gut instinct, not any specific knowledge. Saddam=bad, 9/11=bad, Saddam=9/11, is the logical error. But the invisible man fallacy had as much to do with Kerry’s loss as the Saddam-9/11 misconception. Best,
I often despair about the same question, Adina. Especially since a whole lot of smart people who read the news still think Saddam had no connection to Al Queda and Islamofasicsm in general. The 9-11 Commission said he did, the Duelfer report mentioned his connections to Islamist terrorism in general, and such were common assumptions before 9-11. Many are described here:
So how come you super-smart folks persist in believing he didn’t?
It’s very distressing to see such smart people drink so much Koolaid.
BTW it certainly isn’t proven that he had no connection to 9-11, and there is some circumstantial evidence connecting him to the ’93 WTC bombing. But the connections to Islamist terrorism are abundant.
Whether or not Saddam was specifically connected to 9-11 is irrelevant. We have suffered a string of terrorist attacks since the 60s. The perpetrators are loosely affiliated groups ranging from the Bieder-Manhoff Gang to the PLO to Al Queda, but they interact with each other. They are funded and harbored by states, among them Iraq until recently. One front in eliminating such groups is to dry up their support. Removing Saddam was instrumental in this, and crucial in that – as the Deulfer Report makes plain – Saddam was actively working to get sanctions lifted so he could restart WMD programs, and he harbored terrorists at the same time.
Bush made this strategy explicit numerous times, and indeed was supported in this interpretation by former Pres Clinton, who said he would have done the same thing.
Therefore, Kerry’s repeated remarks that “we didn’t get Osama” and “Iraq was a distraction” just show Kerry’s total cluelessness about the nature of the fight against global terrorism. (Either that or his venality, if indeed he did get it but said what he did just to contradict Bush. Pick one.)
But go ahead, huddle with your little echo chamber, and tut-tut about all the “stupid” people who know things you don’t know.
“your default position in life is being smarter than other people, especially “red state” type people. ”
Excuse me, please. This is not an argument anymore, it’s a talking point playing on liberal guilt. I agree there’s a valid criticism of folks on the left who call folks in red states “stupid rednecks” and use other such slurs. That is a guarantee that you won’t be heard.
I wasn’t calling classes of people stupid. I was asking about understanding of fact (see next comment).
“BTW it certainly isn’t proven that [Saddam] had no connection to 9-11.”
Many people looked hard for a connection between Saddam and 9-11. No such connection was found. The statement above isn’t good enough reason to invade a country.
Many Americans still believe that Saddam was involved in the 9-11 attacks because of things that Bush and Cheney said.
“Islamofascism in general”
Yes, Saddam Hussein supported the Islamic terrorist groups that attacked Israel. So did Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan supports Islamic groups that use terrorist tactics against India, and strongly supported the Taliban.
It was obvious that Afghanistan harbored the group that attacked the US — invading Afghanistan was the right thing to do.
In general, though, I don’t think *invading and occupying countries* is the best way in general to fight non-state terrorist networks. I agree with John Robb who sees post-Saddam Iraq as a bigger training ground for Islamic global guerrillas than before.
I think the key is to “parse” those simple phrases and ask whether they are useful descriptions of a specific reality. In other words, what’s a good *definition* of “connection”? If it applies to a whole buncha countries, then it’s doesn’t seem very useful as a rule for deciding whether to invade a country or not.
Given the “connections” between France and Iraq (and plenty of other nasty countries), shall we invade them next?
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