Logic Times

Rational Thought 101

Commentary by Aslan, 12/27/05, 1:06pm. Comments (8)

 

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The normal process of evaluating the truth or falsehood of claims has broken down.  In the world of Logic, the starting point of this "process" is a proposition, defined as a declarative sentence that makes an assertion.  For example, "Benito Mussolini was a great Italian leader." One can see the process that naturally unfolds from such a primitive proposition: a quick review of history (i.e., Mussolini's fascist roots and disastrous leadership of Italy in WWII) provides sufficient evidence to prove this statement untrue.  

 

Notice that this "proposition" stands alone.  It is not what a student of Logic would call an argument, since it lacks a premise, or a reason justifying the proposition.  A premise, more simply described, is what follows "because."  "Benito Mussolini was a great Italian leader because he kept the trains running on time."  The point here, without belaboring the rules of Logic, is that determining the truth or falsity of a statement is a rational process that flows from statements to the evidence to a conclusion.

 

"The Iraq War is not going well" is an isolated proposition devoid of supporting evidence (premises) that is unfortunately accepted as true by people on both sides of the debate.  For the Left, it is regarded as unassailable Scripture on par with "Bush lies" or "FDR was a great president."  For some inexplicable reason – perhaps a result of relentless media pressure – the Right sheepishly accepts this statement as fact more often than not, only to try and salvage the point by discussing "recent progress in Iraq" or "staying the course."

 

Analysis at any level supports a far different proposition: "The Iraq War is going extremely well." The rules of Logic, informally applied in the following flowchart, demonstrate why.  The process begins with conflicting input and is resolved with tests of evidence:

 

Editor’s Note: The purpose of Rational Thought 101 is not to "prove" that the Iraq War is a smashing success or to argue that every decision that has been made is beyond question. The purpose of Rational Thought 101 is to demonstrate that, while differences of opinion exist concerning Iraq War, there are as of yet no policy issues that should motivate citizens to rise up and endanger our troops with active dissent.  Dissent, as developed in the War and Dissent essay, is not voicing one’s opinion; it is the people cautiously exercising ultimate control over the elements of government that wage war.

 

Some of our fellow citizens are risking their lives representing the interests of this country, which has been moved to war by our representatives.  The fundamental obligation of every citizen is to respect that "contract" between soldier and citizen, a contract that requires commitment. The soldier has, over the years and today, never failed to give us his or her total commitment.  Since Vietnam, the citizen, thinking that war must fit nicely into a formula that excludes death, disorder, and imperfect execution, commits nothing in return.  The old adage that a "plan never survives contact with the enemy" (Von Moltke) has been replaced by the new motto of a spoiled culture: "support never survives contact with the enemy."

 

Reader Comments Here

"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion." John Murtha

"Progress is visible and practical." Joe Lieberman

 

"Our commanders on the ground see the gains the Iraqis are making." George W. Bush

"What we heard today was a commitment to the status quo – a status quo that is not working" - Nancy Pelosi

"The mistakes are stacked one upon another." John Kerry

Test Number One: The Iraq War is not going well because American military casualties are too high.

False: Each fatality is painful and each life precious; however, given the risk in war, a statistical analysis shows that casualties have been low for a major war.

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Test Number Two: The Iraq War is not going well because, as a result of creating more terrorists than we are destroying, American civilian casualties are too high.

False: There have been zero civilian casualties in the United States since the Iraq War began.

Test Number Three: The Iraq War is not going well because Iraqi civilian casualties are too high.  

False: The Coalition intervention has dramatically decreased the rate of civilian casualties in Iraq.

 

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<<< Click for details

Test Number Four: The Iraq War is not going well because the U.S. military in particular has destroyed the infrastructure and killed many Iraqi civilians.

False: Over two years of combat since the fall of Baghdad, much of it urban warfare pursuing un-uniformed combatants concealed within the civilian population, with less than 1,000 civilians killed as a result of U.S. action is a spectacular humanitarian record.

<<< Click for details

Test Number Five: The Iraq War is not going well because it has cost too much money.  

False: The War in Iraq has cost 1.875% of GDP, one of the most inexpensive wars in American history. By contrast, the Revolutionary War cost over 476.2% of GDP.

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Test Number Six: The Iraq War is not going well because, even it though it has a low cost relative to other wars, it has hurt the U.S. economy.

False: The United States economy, by all conventional measures, is performing extremely well.

Click any graph for details

Test Number Seven: The Iraq War is not going well because the economy of Iraq has been destroyed and the future is grim.

False: The International Monetary Fund describes Iraq as an increasingly stable economy with deficits "much lower than expected and a bright future."  Such a future was impossible under Saddam Hussein.

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IMF Statement, December 23, 2005

"The Iraqi authorities were successful in promoting macroeconomic stability in 2005, despite the extremely difficult security environment. Economic growth was modest, following the strong rebound recorded in 2004, and inflationary pressures moderated, although prices remained volatile. The Central Bank of Iraq built up reserves and the exchange rate remained stable. The projected fiscal deficit is much lower than expected under the EPCA-supported program, mainly due to higher than projected export prices for crude oil." IMF in approving first ever Stand-By arrangement for Iraq

Test Number Eight: The Iraq War is not going well because the idea of establishing a democracy in the Middle East is unworkable.

False: Within two years, the Iraqi people have written a constitution and held successful elections.

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Turnout for 2005 Iraqi National Elections

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Turnout for 2004 U.S. Presidential Election

Test Number Nine: The Iraq War is not going well because it has no relationship to the War on Terror.

False: The War on Terror is bigger than Al Qaeda.  Since Black September and the Iran hostage crisis in the 1970s, terrorism has been an extreme Islamic cancer that has reacted to Western weakness with increasingly bold attacks (see Buy the Mean Dog).  And Al Qaeda also happens to be in Iraq, having declared it the "greatest battle of Islam."

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"I want to be the first to congratulate you for what God has blessed you with in terms of fighting battle in the heart of the Islamic world, which was formerly the field for major battles in Islam's history, and what is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era, and what will happen, according to what appeared in the Hadiths of the Messenger of God about the epic battles between Islam and atheism."

(Al-Zawahiri letter to Al-Zarqawi, emphasis added)

Test Number Ten: The Iraq War is not going well because the "occupation" has been bungled.

False: The post-war period never goes smoothly.  Is there room for improvement?  Of course, but history teaches that the period following war is as challenging as the war itself…

There is no perfect post-war strategy.  Even after killing over 3,000,000 German soldiers, the "Werewolves" were mining roads and sniping at Allied soldiers.  The German constitution took 4 years to ratify.

Conclusion: Anyone who is intellectually honest can see that the Iraq War is going well by historical standards.  The risks are great: trying to establish a stable democracy in the Middle East may or may not succeed. But what a bold and compassionate undertaking that, at this stage, deserves the enthusiastic support of the American people.

 

The individual "tests" above can and will be challenged, but the overall landscape of our success in Iraq cannot be rationally refuted.  Consider, for example, these same tests applied to World War II  (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10 could all be answered TRUE) and you will see that the Iraq War does not deserve its calamitous reputation.  

 

Those who will explode in anger at the tests and evidence above – and there will be many – reveal more often than not a hatred of George W. Bush and/or a distrust of American strength. Those people are a lost cause.  But reasonable people who have been influenced by a virulent media campaign may be inclined to view this war of liberation in its true light.  The soldiers fighting there today hope that you do.

 

Copyright © 2005 Dan Hallagan. All Rights Reserved.