I’ll call a meeting of the army officers on board. I’ll go any length to save this man

Ever heard of an Argument from Incredulity. Its an informal logical fallacy and we all do it occasionally,as in ” She couldn’t have won the race. She stopped training six months ago.” Well the fact that she stopped training six months ago may make her win amazing in the light of competing against others that did train properly, but the fact is she did win. Our incredulity at an untrained athlete winning does not negate the reality of her winning. Ok so you knew that, arguments from incredulity are not valid, but John Hinderaker at Powerline, proud holder of a law degree and right-wing noise maker thinks such arguments are valid. Why bother firing up Google when he can just prove anything he disagree with pseudo outrage. John proceded to attack Rep. John Murtha after his appearance on Face the Nation: ( Think Progress has a good post on this, consider this as an expansion of that discussion)

All Hindrocket had to do was supply some facts instead of feigning outrage.
Murtha’s suggestion that the administration said Iraq had nuclear weapons is absurd.

CLAIM: “We found the weapons of mass destruction.”– President Bush, 5/29/03
“The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction.” – President Bush’s UN speech, 9/23/03, link
Hindrocket: Likewise his claim that there is “no al Qaeda connection.” – (This spurious framing of the argument about Iraq and al Qaeda has been going on for over three years. Reality check, how many countries have had and have some kind of connection to al Qaeda. Its dozens. Many of them, like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are countries that America has close ties with. If connections to al Queda are the defining reason to invade countries we best get busy.)

CLAIM: “You can’t distinguish between al-Qaida and Saddam.” – President Bush, 9/25/02
CLAIM: “There’s no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties.” – President Bush, 9/17/03
CLAIM: “There was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda.” – Vice President Cheney, 9/14/03

FACT: “CIA interrogators have already elicited from the top Qaeda officials in custody that, before the American-led invasion, Osama bin Laden had rejected entreaties from some of his lieutenants to work jointly with Saddam.” [NY Times, 1/15/04]

FACT: “Sec. of State Colin Powell conceded Thursday that despite his assertions to the United Nations last year, he had no ‘smoking gun’ proof of a link between the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and terrorists of al-Qaeda.’I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection,’ Powell said.” [NY Times, 1/9/04]

FACT: “Three former Bush Administration officials who worked on intelligence and national security issues said the prewar evidence tying Al Qaeda was tenuous, exaggerated and often at odds with the conclusions of key intelligence agencies.” [National Journal, 8/9/03]

FACT: Declassified documents “undercut Bush administration claims before the war that Hussein had links to Al Qaeda.” [LA Times, 7/19/03].

FACT: “The chairman of the monitoring group appointed by the United Nations Security Council to track Al Qaeda told reporters that his team had found no evidence linking Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein.” [NY Times, 6/27/03]

FACT: “U.S. allies have found no links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. ‘We have found no evidence of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda,’ said Europe’s top investigator. ‘If there were such links, we would have found them. But we have found no serious connections whatsoever.'” [LA Times, 11/4/02] link

Murtha claims the unemployment rate in Iraq is 60%, which is unbelievable on its face. This is a figure that is sometimes cited on far-left blogs, which I suspect are Murtha’s source; the CIA’s World Factbook estimates Iraq’s unemployment rate for 2005 at 25-30%.

Sunday 01 August 2004, Unemployed Iraqis protesting in front of the US embassy
A study by the college of economics at Baghdad University has found that the unemployment rate in Iraq is 70%.

US job figures in Iraq overstated. Friday 01 October 2004 ( administration fudges numbers )

Report paints grim picture of Iraqi life, May 12, 2005

Iraq’s unemployment rate was 10.5 percent of a population of 27 million people, the report found. When the figure of workers who had given up looking for a job — discouraged workers — was included, the unemployment number increased to 18.4 percent.

Most of the unemployed were people who were looking for their first jobs, the report found.

De Mistura, the U.N. representative, said Iraqis have done well to maintain services, but he said delivery of utilities such as water, sewage, sanitation and electricity hasn’t been consistent.

“Although a large percentage of the population in Iraq is connected to water, electricity and sewage networks, the supply is too unstable to make a difference to their lives,” he said in a news release.

I can’t find the complete transcript so I’m giving Hindrocket the benefit of the doubt that Murtha said 60%. There has been progress on employment,but many of the jobs that have been created are the result of government works programs to rebuild infrastructure detroyed during the invasion or during the civil war that Bush supporters say Iraq is not having or has not had.

Iraq inflation soars to 22%

The index covers commodities which absorb almost 100% of what Iraqi families spend in one month, the statement said.
The items include foodstuffs, fuel, transport, medical services and drugs, clothes, property, furniture and other essential goods.
Transport and fuel saw the highest increases (27%) followed by foodstuffs (26.4%).
The government is scrapping fuel subsidies resulting in sharp increases in fuel prices and transport fees.
Despite the hikes the government has stopped short of raising salaries.
Analysts said the steep hikes in prices coupled with the absence of law and order in many Iraqi cities are bound to undermine government’s efforts to build bridges of trust with the population.

Defining terms: civil war department, IEA official says unrest overshadows Iraqi oil production

An International Energy Agency (IEA) official said at a conference in Prague that the IEA does not believe Iraq can boost oil production to predicted levels owing to unrest in the country.

“We do not think that it is possible in the absence of security and order for major oil companies to come to invest in Iraq,” the chief economist of the Paris-based organisation, Fatih Birol, said in a speech on the opening day of the conference “Energy Security – The NATO Forum on Energy Security Technology” on Wednesday.

Birol also said that “we will face tighter energy markets and higher prices for years to come”, adding that the world faced a “troubled energy picture”.

Murtha says there is a civil war going on in Iraq. Only, there isn’t.

Its not as simple a John makes it out to be, factions within Iraq have been battling each other since the first month after the invasion. That Hindrocket defines civil war as one side in grey lined up against one side in blue is so 19th century of him. Hindrocket’s understanding of the situation in Iraq is shallow to say the least. Actually John’s overall grasp displays such a depth of either ignorance or stupity it makes one think of Mark Twain’s admonition, “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”

Does it matter if you call it a civil war?

The Iraqi government and US military say they don’t keep figures on Iraqi troops or civilians killed. According to http://www.iraqbodycount.net, a website run by academics and peace activists, 24,865 Iraqi civilians were killed between March 2003 and March 2005. The report said that US-led forces killed 37 percent of the total.

The spreadsheets in Dr. Faad Ameen Bakr’s computer shed some light on the casualty rate. Baghdad’s chief pathologist pulls down the death toll for Iraq’s capital in July: 1,083 murders, a new record.

Under Saddam Hussein, Baghdad was a violent city. But the highest murder rate before the war was 250 in one month. (By comparison, New York City with about 2 million more residents, had 572 murders in 2004, and a peak of 2,245 in 1990).

The month of June, with 870 murders, was the previous record in Baghdad. In a weary monotone, Dr. Bakr explains that 680 of the victims were shot, the rest “strangled, electrocuted, stabbed, killed by blunt trauma or burned to death.” The totals don’t include residents killed by Baghdad’s frequent car-bombings.

While he won’t discuss the religious background of the victims – citing the vulnerability of himself and his staff – Bakr says a growing number of victims show signs of “extreme torture” and arrive at the morgue in handcuffs or bound with the plastic ties used by the Iraqi military and police. “I wouldn’t call it a civil war, but I would call it chronic instability,” he says.

The second part of the definition of a civil war is whether the national government is battling nonstate or other internal forces.

A year ago it was common to hear Iraqi politicians say most of the fighting was resistance to US occupation, and would subside with a US military withdrawal. Today, few voice that view.

“We are living in an undeclared civil war among Iraq’s political groups,” says Nabil Yunos, the head of political affairs for the Dignity Party, a Sunni party. “It’s not just Sunnis that are the problem. It’s the Shiites, the Kurds, it’s everyone. The violence has gotten worse, and we’re entering a very dangerous period.”

This article from CSM is dated 22 August 2005 and while some things have changed for the good and some for the worse that US led forces are responsible for 37% of Iraqi deaths is telling. Assuming that figure to be in the ball park, that would mean that Iraqis and foreign fighters are responsible for the other 63%. So Ok we don’t call this nationally inflicted carnage a civil war if that makes Bush supporters sleep better at night, we could call it chronic instability. No the troops themselves are not to blame. They’re troops. Which means they’re there to carry out daily missions as best they can. Its the administrations fault for ” staying the course”. In this case staying the course is pushing a boulder up a hill using brute force when they need to come up with a series of cables, levels, and pullys. Its a modification of the addage to work smart not hard. The Bush-Rummey way has gotten too many people killed and cost the people of America and Iraq too much. John and his ilk , the 101st Fighting Hypocrites want to keep shouldering that boulder up the hill no matter how bone headed, how unproductive or deadly. I don’t have to be use incredulity to suggest how crazy Hindrocket is, he proves it with every post that I’ve read. Where is the post by Hindrocket or his ideological clones that at least uses their keyboards to fight for our troops and the good of the Iraqi people. The post that fights for changing course, for defining real victory, not a score based on body counts or a one percent increase in the number of Iraqis that have air conditioning; where’s the post from the right-wing ideoloques that swears alligance to America instead of the right-wing party. Where’s the post that the right has had an epiphany, that they gave America and Iraq one big cluster fuck and promise to stop and not do it again. Where’s the post where they swear to stop abusing veterans and have honest discussions about what kind of country we could have, but don’t because regardless of the right’s intentions they keep their boot in the face of enlightened thinking.

The Poorman has some more observations on the perception of the reality of Iraq, Strawberry fields forever

The idea the President of the United States may bear the actual responsibility for the failure of this war, while possibly true, is dismissed with a wave. The real problem is that (with the active encouragement of people like Glenn Reynolds) some people may perceive that the press is to blame … because the press made others perceive the wrong perception of the war! We’ve moved from images now to images of images of images. Very meta. It’s hard to imagine how the wingnuts can place still less value on reality, but they always seem to manage.

Gergen: Bush worst than Nixon on Secrecy

GERGEN: I am glad you brought that up. This administration has engaged in secrecy at a level we have not seen in over 30 years. Unfortunately, I have to bring up the name of Richard Nixon, because we haven’t seen it since the days of Nixon. And now what they’re doing — and they’re using the war on terror to justify — is they’re starting to target journalists who try to pierce the veil of secrecy and find things and put them in the newspapers.

Military Will Keep Planting Articles in Iraq

The U.S. military plans to continue paying Iraqi newspapers to publish articles favorable to the United States after an inquiry found no fault with the controversial practice, the top U.S. general in Iraq said Friday.

Army Gen. George W. Casey said the internal review had concluded that the U.S. military was not violating U.S. law or Pentagon guidelines with the information operations campaign, in which U.S. troops and a private contractor write pro-American articles and pay to have them planted without attribution in Iraqi media.

There’s something to be said for trying to counter the anti-american propaganda of all the various factions in Iraq, but it always leaves open that door of suspicion that its spin or disinformation. Since the administration hedges the truth so often one can’t help but think its to some degree a wasted effort. Maybe this is where Hindrocket and Glenn Reynolds get their news.

Thousands held without trial in Iraq, says Amnesty

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been detained for months if not years without trial by US-led multinational forces since the 2003 invasion, Amnesty International said in a report on Monday.

Iraq’s Crisis of Scarred Psyches

Gunmen Attack 3 Mosques In Iraq

The steward rose and turned out the drop-light on his desk. “Have you received notice that there are no more eggs and oranges on board? Then I am afraid there is nothing I can do for you. I did not provision this ship.”
“No. I understand that. I believe the United States Government provided the fruit and eggs and meat. And I positively know that the articles I need for my patient are not exhausted. Without going into the matter further, I warn you that I’m not going to let a United States officer die when the means of saving him are procurable. I’ll go to the skipper, I’ll call a meeting of the army officers on board. I’ll go any length to save this man.”
“That is your own affair, but you will not interfere with me in the discharge of my duties. Will you leave my cabin?”
“In a moment, Steward. I know that last night a number of cases of eggs and oranges were carried into this room. They are here now, and they belong to the A. E. F. If you will agree to provision my man, what I know won’t go any further. But if you refuse, I’ll get this matter investigated. I won’t stop till I do.”
The Steward sat down, and took up a pen. His large, soft hand looked cheesy, like his face. “What is the number of the cabin?” he asked indifferently.
“Exactly what do you require?”

excerpt One of Ours (Book Four: The Voyage of the Anchises) by Willa Cather