Josh is Angry

Josh says in backchannel that he is angry. From the context it is clear that he is angry that Bush is in power and wants to debate the issues in public. He articulates the challenge thus:

no discussion about the pros and cons of the bush administration will be without a discussion of domestic issues as well as international ones. the crucial difference between the way you think now and the way i think now has nothing to do with intellectual dishonesty or low iq, (fucker) but that i care deeply about the actual domestic state of this country,

Since, in our discussions, my focus has been almost exclusively about Iraq, I interpret Josh as saying that he is not really interested in whether taking out Saddam was a good policy but rather whether George Bush is a good or bad President. Since abstract goodness or badness are metaphysical questions and metaphysical questions are not really coherently answerable, I’d like to constrain this discussion to something more manageable. If Josh wants a debate about whether Bush or Kerry would be a superior President over the next four years, that is an option, but even that seems overly broad without agreement about what would make one superior to the other. So I challenge Josh either to provide some basis of comparison between the two possible future Presidents or to constrain the discussion to respective mertis of Bush and Kerry’s policies on some specific issue.

But before we do any of that, I would like to resolve the question of intellectual honesty. Josh, do you believe that the Bush administration claimed that Saddam was an imminent threat to the United States.

(Josh, if you want to have this debate in the comments section, that is fine. Personally I would prefer if you responded in your own blog because MT does not allow links to comments.)


4 Responses to Josh is Angry

  1. we’ll have the debate here. find a way to track comments. i’m sure you can do it, backend genius that you are.

    i will respond today, but here’s a quick note now:

    if you go back and read my mail, of course i am angry about the president being in power. but so is andrew sullivan!

    “BUSH’S FAILURE: And the answer cannot be the president’s crude and simple rhetorical tropes. What Bush doesn’t seem to understand is that in any war, people need to be reminded constantly of what is going on, what is at stake, what our immediate, medium-term and ultimate objectives are. The president has said nothing cogent about Karbala; nothing apposite about al Sadr; nothing specific about what our strategy is in Falluja. Events transpire and are interpreted by critics and the anti-war media and by everyone on the planet but the president. All the president says is a broad and crude reiteration of valid but superfluous boilerplate. This is not war-leadership; it’s the abdication of war-leadership. We are at a critical juncture. With some perspective, we have achieved much in Iraq, with relatively low casualties. But it will all go to hell if we lose our nerve now. It’s long past time that people can be asked simply to trust the president. After the WMD intelligence debacle and the Abu Ghraib disgrace, he has run out of that capital. He has to tell us how we will win, what we are doing, how it all holds together, why the infrastructure repair is still in disarray, and how a political solution is possible. I’m not sure any more that this president has the skills or competence to pull it off. But I am sure that he has very little time to persuade us he can.”

    but no, my anger in that case was at you, for labeling me as either stupid or dishonest. how did you do this? you titled your blog entry “Do anti-Bush folks have low IQ or are they simply intellectually dishonest?” and ended it with a specific mention of a single anti-bush folksperson: me.

    that’s why i’m specifically angry at YOU, tonto. because you called me stupid. so don’t get all shifty and say it’s because of bush.

  2. are you actually asking me if the bush administration claimed that saddam was an imminent threat? yes, of course they did!

    do i believe that they believed it? no, i do not. i think that they believed iraq was basically a toothless country which was not only a lynchpin in the geopolitical middle east but also more of a threat to its own citizens than those of the countries around it, including israel and even us.

    i think that rumsfeld + condi + cheney’s hints that iraq not only backed 9/11 but also could blow us up in a heartbeat were misleading statements cravenly made because they knew that ‘iraq is the key to unlocking the middle east’ was not going to fly as a justification for war.

  3. Ben says:

    Here’s a link of the adm.’s threat-related statements, compiled by the left-leaning CAP:

  4. Josh failed to provide any evidence of a claim for imminent threat. All we have is Ben’s CAP URL.

    The context for “imminent threat” is that preemptive action is justified under international law in the face of imminent threat. What is notable is that none of these quotations from Bush administration officials make the claim that the threat from Iraq is imminent in this sense.

    I remember Josh being upset about this administrations change of preemption doctrine. Bush et al. were making the claim that if we don’t attack now, Iraq will become an imminent threat and by then it might be too late to act. It would be completely pointless to argue for a change in preemption doctrine if the threat from Iraq was truly imminent.

    Moreover if war opponents at the time truly believed that the administration was claiming the threat was imminent, they would have pointed to the change of preemption doctrine to claim that they didn’t truly believe it. They failed to do so then either because they are truly stupid or because Bush et al. never really made an imminent threat argument.

    Parenthetically, we now have evidence that

    Saddam was developing WMD and posessed them.
    Saddam was connected with 9/11
    Saddam was working w/ terrorists in general including Zarqawi
    That Iraq was an open market for WMD
    That Saddam might have been able to acquire nukes from Pakistan or N. Korea

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