Blargh Blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Who Decides

I left you for a month with the advice to read Hilzoy. It's good advice (you should keep reading her here), but I feel like I should be saying more. I've decided to use my first post back to score cheap political points in favor of John Kerry and against George W. Bush.

In the lead-up to tonight's big Bush speech, I kept hearing that Bush would lay out his plan for Iraq, but one thing that he would not do is change his mind. After reading the transcript of his speech (like Matt, I chose audiovisual entertainment over the live event), I'm left with three possible conclusions. After you hear my analysis, you can pick at least one:

- Bush was lying* last year, not speaking his mind
- Bush was lying* during his speech tonight, not speaking his mind
- They were lying* when they said that Bush would not change his mind

As I discussed here, during the September 30 Presidential debate, Bush took issue with Kerry's claim that "Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq in order to go out to people and say that America has declared war on Islam." Bush replied:

My opponent just said something amazing. He said Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq as an excuse to spread hatred for America. Osama bin Laden isn't going to determine how we defend ourselves.

Osama bin Laden doesn't get to decide. The American people decide.

Tonight, Oxblog (David Adesnik) describes how Bush takes a different view on bin Laden's status as an agenda-setting authority: "Bush acknowledges that some question the relevance of the war in Iraq to the war on terror. Then he quotes bin Laden to the effect that the war in Iraq is critical to the war against America. Very nice." Bush's words are:
Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate.

Here are the words of Osama bin Laden: This third world war is raging in Iraq. The whole world is watching this war. He says it will end in victory and glory or misery and humiliation.

The terrorists know that the outcome will leave them emboldened or defeated. So they are waging a campaign of murder and destruction. And there is no limit to the innocent lives they are willing to take.
I will hear no subtleties as to whether this constitutes letting bin Laden determine American policy. The point is that this is the exact same style of argumentation that he attacked Kerry for. You can now go back and draw your conclusion about why this is.

This conclude's today's cheap partisan message.

*If you think that their awareness of the situation does not live up to the designation "lying", then you may substitute in a verb of your choice indicating untruthfulness.


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