Campus personalities present and past Rebecca C. Brown and Tommaso Sciortino tackle the issues. This week on a very special CalJunket: Rebecca learns not to chew with her mouth open and Tommaso finds out his best friend is addicted to no-doze.
Monday, December 05, 2005
The Perils of Withdrawal (from Reality)(This is being cross-posted from thepartyline)
The problem with Christopher Hitchens’ article is illustrated in its title: “The Perils of Withdrawal”. It contains the deceit that the perils he mentions belong only to the plan advocated by Murtha and those who believe that the American military have done pretty much all they can in Iraq. Since the US will have to withdraw from Iraq within the next two or three years (for political and logistical reasons) the real question is why does Hitchens expect the military headed by Bush and Rumsfeld to mitigate these perils in the time remaining, and is what little we can achieve in Iraq worth the extra risk. An interesting pro-staying-the-course essay would delve into these topics but for the most part this essay is an exercise in name-calling and avoiding the point.
First he asks why those who favor a shorter timeline for
He then gets to Murtha.
This is flawed logic. Murtha argues that American troops are *a* cause of the insurgency. This is just one of many arguments Murtha makes for his timeline (the main one being that we’ve accomplished all we can). Here Hitchens is implicitly saying that Murtha believes the case for his timeline can rest entirely on this argument.
But there is another deceit here. This whole foray into an Afghan/Iraq metaphor is not argument against Murtha’s logic. Rather, it's just a charge of hypocrisy. There is value in exposing hypocrisy but here it serves to let Hitchens avoid making the negative case against t. (I’ve given up on seeing a positive case by now).
He then throws in some more insult our intelligence:
Look at the arguments he pulls to fabricate a charge of hypocrisy. The first “thousand more” argument would be advocated by an anti-Afghan war crazy. The second “distraction” argument is a mainstream one which even I have used. He offers no proof that any individual has actually held both of these positions, much less that many have.*
Finally we get back to Murtha:
There is some evidence that Murtha is wrong and that the Baathists and Bin Ladenists in
This does not contradict Murtha’s claim that the insurgency is fueled in part by
The rest of the piece is just a wish list of what
*Another deceit that jumped out at me here was this smear against MoveOn.org:
In spite of furious opposition from the MoveOn left and the Lindbergh right, and endless talk about a "quagmire" from many liberals, most Americans did back the intervention in
MoveOn did not oppose the war in
** This technically isn't a contrdiction though I find it difficult to see why would should trust Iraq to tell us when to leave but not when they tell us to set a timetable.
Update: I've made some changes to since my first posting but I don't want to keep fiddeling with it. I could modify it endlessly but let me add only that I realize that Hitchens isn't obliged to argue about what I want him to. Still though, I feel my other arguments are valid.