I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations

appeal to authority and unsupported assertion

An appeal to authority or argument by authority is a type of argument in logic, consisting on basing the truth value of an otherwise unsupported assertion on the authority, knowledge or position of the person asserting it. It is also known as argument from authority, argumentum ad verecundiam (Latin: argument to respect) or ipse dixit (Latin: he himself said it). It is one method of obtaining propositional knowledge, but a fallacy in regard to logic, because the validity of a claim does not follow from the credibility of the source. The corresponding reverse case would be an ad hominem attack: to imply that the claim is false because the asserter is objectionable.

On the other hand, there is no fallacy involved in simply arguing that the assertion made by an authority is plausible: it is likely true, we just don’t know for sure, because authority alone is not a proof.

In the movie The Big Chill Michael Gold (Jeff Goldblum) says that you can’t get through the day without a rationaliztion. Bush, Republican pundits, and right-wing web sites simply cannot discuss Iraq or terrorism without making unsupported assertions. Bush shows no signs what so ever of giving up on their use, Bush: ‘Iraq withdrawal may spark 9/11 repeat’

“If American forces were to step back from Baghdad before it is more secure, a contagion of violence could spill out across the entire country. In time, this violence could engulf the region.

The region of Iraq is engulfed in violence and that is so because Bush steam rolled the nation into invading it. There are loosely affiliated al-Queda members there, but they’re goals as far as it is known is not to attack the U.S. If they wanted to do so, nothing Bush is doing in Iraq would prevent them.

“The terrorists could emerge from the chaos with a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they had in Afghanistan, which they used to plan the attacks of September 11, 2001. For the safety of the American people, we cannot allow this to happen.”

The only thing resembling a true terrorist group in Iraq are the minority Sunni foreign fighters. It is close to impossible that the majority Shia would alllow them “safe haven”. That assertion is not based on any known fact about the religious or tribal factions in Iraq. Again if any jihadist that has a grudge against America wanted to badly, enough there are no events or change in tactics in Iraq that would prevent that.

He delivered a tough message to Democrats, who now control Congress, that he would veto any bill that did not provide “the funds and the flexibility that our troops need to accomplish their mission”.Democratic proposals for deadlines for troop withdrawals, he claimed, could be “devastating” for US security and could help al-Qa’eda plan attacks against the US on a scale not seen since September 11.

Show us the evidence. It is that simple. Show the American people the studies, the intelligence that says a redeployment of American troops will bring another 9-11 attack. Bush believes, and believes is the operative word in some version of the “flypaper” theory. That all the jihadists in the world have been drawn to Iraq and are just too darn busy to attack America. He says this and believes this as Afghanistan, where Osama Bin Laden was 6 years ago has slid back into a country ruled by warlords, the Taliban has had a resurgence and spread into Pakistan.

This continued insistence on cause and effect links between 9-11, Iraq and stopping Islamic radical terror should be disconcerting to every American. It is like standing in crowd as the emperor walks by and he swears that he is wearing the most splendid new clothes and it is obvious that he is not wearing any clothes at all. It should and does cross the minds of a few people in the crowd that if anything the emperor’s crown is on a little too tight. The Iraq Effect starts by referring to similar comments that Bush made in November 2005,

The president’s argument conveyed two important assumptions: first, that the threat of jihadist terrorism to U.S. interests would have been greater without the war in Iraq, and second, that the war is reducing the overall global pool of terrorists. However, the White House has never cited any evidence for either of these assumptions, and none appears to be publicly available.

Our study yields one resounding finding: The rate of terrorist attacks around the world by jihadist groups and the rate of fatalities in those attacks increased dramatically after the invasion of Iraq. Globally there was a 607 percent rise in the average yearly incidence of attacks (28.3 attacks per year before and 199.8 after) and a 237 percent rise in the average fatality rate (from 501 to 1,689 deaths per year). A large part of this rise occurred in Iraq, which accounts for fully half of the global total of jihadist terrorist attacks in the post-Iraq War period. But even excluding Iraq, the average yearly number of jihadist terrorist attacks and resulting fatalities still rose sharply around the world by 265 percent and 58 percent respectively.

And even when attacks in both Afghanistan and Iraq (the two countries that together account for 80 percent of attacks and 67 percent of deaths since the invasion of Iraq) are excluded, there has still been a significant rise in jihadist terrorism elsewhere–a 35 percent increase in the number of jihadist terrorist attacks outside of Afghanistan and Iraq, from 27.6 to 37 a year, with a 12 percent rise in fatalities from 496 to 554 per year.

The emperor and his dead-end supporters will continue to assert without the slightest bit of evidence that Bush is making the world safer even though the exact opposite is true. Their unsupported assertions that rest solely on the grandiose proclamations of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or their right-wing proxies are taken as a matter of faith, the kind of blind faith that one has always been able to find in zealots who by definition do not want to be bothered with the facts.

Also undermining the argument that Al Qaeda and like-minded groups are being distracted from plotting against Western targets are the dangerous, anti-American plots that have arisen since the start of the Iraq War. Jihadist terrorists have attacked key American allies since the Iraq conflict began, mounting multiple bombings in London that killed 52 in July 2005, and attacks in Madrid in 2004 that killed 191. Shehzad Tanweer, one of the London bombers, stated in his videotaped suicide “will,” “What have you witnessed now is only the beginning of a string of attacks that will continue and become stronger until you pull your forces out of Afghanistan and Iraq.” There have been six jihadist attacks on the home soil of the United States’ NATO allies (including Turkey) in the period after the invasion of Iraq, whereas there were none in the 18 months following 9/11…

Bush and the neocons cannot seem to utter a word about Iraq and terrorism that isn’t an unsupported assertion. Their appeals are never based on rational facts, but rather rationalizations based on their own authority or as has been reported some mystical authority.

Michael: I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.
Sam Weber: Ah, come on. Nothing’s more important than sex.
Michael: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

from the movie The Big Chill (1983)