Friday, September 15, 2006

It's Intellectual Dishonesty, Stupid

Recently, MSNBC talking head Joe Scarborough argued that much of the problem that George W. Bush has encountered in trying to lead this country stems from his being, as Scarborough put it, intellectually incurious.

In that mindset, the Bush dilemma is more of a matter of his being insulated, discouraging dissent, and not encouraging contrary points-of-view that might make him question his rigid belief system.

While there may be some truth in that, what I find far more troublesome about Mr. Bush is his intellectual dishonesty. I feel that Bush, in defending some of his indefensible positions, continues to frame his debate with intellectually dishonest, false arguments.

Much of the deliberate misrepresentation Bush employs is of the "straw man" variety. Earlier this month, Craig Crawford wrote,

For starters, the war against terrorism and Bush’s way of fighting it are not necessarily the same thing. But this is how the president has managed to frame the debate, as a choice between backing his policies and abandoning the war altogether. “If we retreat before the job is done, this nation would become even more in jeopardy,” he said last week, when he launched another wave of speeches around the country to defend his war policies.

Any president inevitably wins a “me or nothing” debate. That is why Bush frames the war in this way. No one in his right mind is going to say that we should give up and let the terrorists do whatever they like. If voters buy the president’s view that without him the terrorists win, then they will surely take his side.

Bush, and the rest of the lapdogs on the right use a very consistent pattern. They intentionally portray opposition to their views in absurdist ways...are those opposed to warrantless wiretapping really rooting for the terrorists...and then hammer home those false assertions until, they hope, people start believing the lies.

At today's news conference, Bush was reacting to those in the Senate that want to prevent him from changing the way we prosecute and interrogate suspects in the 'war on terror.' To justify his attempt to gut the Geneva Convention and torture at protect himself from being prosecuted for future war crimes, Bush said,

"It's unacceptable to think there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective."

There's the false argument again. Nobody is suggesting an equivalency here. What Americans are being warned about is a man who is trying to utterly destroy the moral reputation of this country by refusing to abide by global, and Democratic, standards of decency and fairness.

If we need to destroy our principles to defeat terrorists, the terrorists win. It's as simple as that.

Thankfully, some in the GOP are starting to wake up and join Democrats in confronting the president on this. If this intellectually dishonest man who leads our country isn't challenged and taken to task for the damage he is doing, America will be paying for it for decades to come.

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