Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Aaron Lee Wudrick beatdown: Part 2.5.


This isn't so much a whole new beatdown as a logical extension of the last one, since I wanted to make one more observation of the logical idiocy of Mr. Wudrick's asinine analogy.

In debating whether or not one can technically accuse George Bush of "lying," Mr. Wudrick has the nerve to compare the claims of the existence of WMDs to discussing whether or not it's raining outside. This analogy is so stupid, it's not clear whether it's worth disemboweling but, what the hell, I'll do it anyway.

Mr. Wudrick presents his idea of an analogy that involves whether or not it's raining outside, without even considering the consequences of giving out false information. In the case of the rain, it's not hard to imagine that being told incorrectly that it's raining is rarely going to have dire consequences. At worst, in the scenario I presented, someone might waste several minutes rushing outside to roll up their windows, only to find out that's it's entirely unnecessary.

If that person comes back down to chew you out, you can truthfully tell them that you really did believe it was raining based on the information you had, and that you're sorry, and that should be the end of it. A little inconvenience but, all in all, no big deal, it's over, forget it and move on.

The consequences of getting claims of WMDs wrong are, on the other hand, a little more serious, aren't they? It doesn't really cut it to launch a military invasion of another country, destroy its infrastructure, saturate its land with depleted uranium and kill tens of thousands of its civilians, then have to sheepishly admit later, "Well, heh heh, about those WMDs? Um ... funny story ... seems we can't find them. But we really thought they were here. I mean, that Ahmad guy who told us about them, he had an honest face. Gee, shit happens, I guess."

No, sorry, that doesn't work. You don't get to bomb another country back into the Stone Age on bogus accusations, then excuse yourself later by saying, "Oops, my bad." Sadly, though, that's exactly what Mr. Wudrick seems to be saying.

Unfortunately, sometimes "sorry" just doesn't make up for things, does it? And no, we are still so not done with Mr. Wudrick.

7 comments:

Danté said...

OMG YOU TOTALLY SHOT HIM DOWN!!! YOU ARE TEH 13337 DUDEZ!!!!


PWNED!!!!!!!!


.....sigh.....

CC said...

Will someone please keep the children away from the computer until we're done here?

v said...

President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice repeatedly made misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq. They made these statements in 125 separate public appearances. The total number of misleading statements made by the five officials is 237.

The 237 misleading statements were made in a variety of forums. On 53 occasions, the five officials gave interviews in which they made claims that were misleading. They also made misleading statements in 40 speeches, 26 press conferences and briefings, 4 written statements and articles, and 2 appearances before Congress.

The majority of the misleading statements — 161 — were made in the buildup to the war in Iraq.

Most of the misleading statements involve the selective use of intelligence or the failure to include essential qualifiers or caveats.

For example, statements of certainty that Iraq was close to possessing nuclear weapons were misleading because they ignored significant doubts and disagreement in the U.S. intelligence community regarding whether Iraq was actively pursuing a nuclear program.

In 10 instances, however, the statements were false statements that directly contradicted facts known at the time by the Administration.


For example, on July 11, 2003, Ms. Rice stated with respect to the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa:

“Now, if there were doubts about the underlying intelligence . . . those doubts were not communicated to the President, to the Vice President, or to me.”


This statement is false because, as Ms. Rice’s deputy Stephen Hadley subsequently acknowledged, the CIA sent Ms. Rice and Mr. Hadley memos in October 2002 warning against the use of this claim.


MISLEADING STATEMENTS BY INDIVIDUAL OFFICIALS

Statements by President Bush:


Between September 12, 2002, and July 17, 2003, President Bush made 55 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq in 27 separate public appearances. Of the 55 misleading statements by President Bush, 4 claimed that Iraq posed an urgent threat; 14 exaggerated Iraq’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons; 18 overstated Iraq’s chemical or biological weapons capacity; and 19 misrepresented Iraq’s links to al Qaeda.

On October 7, 2002, three days before the congressional votes on the Iraqi war resolution, President Bush gave a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, with 11 misleading statements.

Some of the misleading statements by President Bush include his statement in the January 28, 2003, State of the Union address that “the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”; his statement on October 2, 2002, that “the Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency”; and his statement on May 1, 2003, that “the liberation of Iraq . . . removed an ally of al Qaeda.”

Statements by Vice President Cheney:

Between March 17, 2002, and January 22, 2004, Vice President Cheney made 51 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq in 25 separate public appearances.

Some of the misleading statements by Vice President Cheney include his statement on September 8, 2002, that “we do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs . . . to build a nuclear weapon”; his statement on March 16, 2003, that

“we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons”

and his statement on October 10, 2003, that Saddam Hussein “had an established relationship with al Qaeda.”

Statements by Secretary Rumsfeld:


Between May 22, 2002, and November 2, 2003, Secretary Rumsfeld made 52 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq in 23 separate public appearances.

Some of the misleading statements by Secretary Rumsfeld include his statement on November 14, 2002, that within “a week, or a month” Saddam Hussein could give his weapons of mass destruction to al Qaeda, which could use them to attack the United States and kill “30,000, or 100,000 . . . human beings”; his statement on January 29, 2003, that Saddam Hussein’s regime “recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa”; and his statement on July 13, 2003, that there "was never any debate” about whether Iraq had a nuclear program.

Statements by Secretary Powell:


Between April 3, 2002, and October 3, 2003, Secretary Powell made 50 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq in 34 separate public appearances.

Secretary Powell sometimes used caveats and qualifying language in his public statements. Nonetheless, many of Secretary Powell’s statements did not include these qualifiers and were misleading in their expression of certainty, such as his statement on May 22, 2003, that “there is no doubt in our minds now that those vans were designed for only one purpose, and that was to make biological weapons.”

Statements by National Security Advisor Rice:


Between September 8, 2002, and September 28, 2003, National Security Advisor Rice made 29 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq in 16 separate public appearances.

Although Ms. Rice had the fewest public appearances and the fewest misleading statements, she had the highest number of statements — 8 — that were false.


These false statements included several categorical assertions that that no one in the White House knew of the intelligence community’s doubts about the President’s assertion that Iraq sought to import uranium from Africa.

CONCLUSION:


Because of the gravity of the subject and the President’s unique access to classified information, members of Congress and the public expect the President and his senior officials to take special care to be balanced and accurate in describing national security threats.

It does not appear, however, that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice met this standard in the case of Iraq.
To the contrary, these five officials repeatedly made misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq.

Further Reading

eastern capitalist said...

You know CC, you hit the nail pretty good on this one...
If that person comes back down to chew you out, you can truthfully tell them that you really did believe it was raining based on the information you had, and that you're sorry, and that should be the end of it. A little inconvenience but, all in all, no big deal, it's over, forget it and move on.

The consequences of getting claims of WMDs wrong are, on the other hand, a little more serious, aren't they?


You are right the consequences of getting claims of WMDs wrong are pretty serious. What if Bush was totaly right, that the intel he had was as factual as he and his adminstration thought it was? Then what?

eastern capitalist said...

Oh and on another point, an OPP officer pulling someone over without and then finding drugs is a little less serious than say finding WMDs in a rouge nation, isn't it?

CC said...

eastern capitalist wrote:

Oh and on another point, an OPP officer pulling someone over without and then finding drugs is a little less serious than say finding WMDs in a rouge nation, isn't it?

I'm not sure what you're getting at. I wasn't trying to compare the severity of those two things.

I was explaining that, in neither case can you excuse your actions after the fact.

eastern capitalist said...

I was pointing out that getting the WMD question wrong has very large consequences, which sometimes means you use your judgement and go with some risk management.