Thursday, September 30, 2004

Getting facts into play

As the debates draw closer, one of my major concerns is that the Democrats haven't yet established a few key facts in voters' minds. This is something we could've accomplished during the convention if we weren't so concerned about being positive. But we didn't, so now we have to go into the debates with lots of undecided voters being aware of the following two facts in particular:

-The weapons inspectors were on the ground in Iraq, successfully getting Saddam to destroy some minor banned weapons, when Bush went ahead and started war. (My guess is that most Americans believe Saddam hadn't caved and allowed the inspectors at that time. If they knew inspections were going on, Bush's line about defending America vs. taking the word of a madman would be revealed as empty.)

-We had Osama pinned down in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, when Bush shifted military planners away from catching him and towards preparing for the Iraq war. (My guess is that most Americans think we never had any idea where Osama was in Afghanistan, and don't know that focus on Saddam made it harder to get him. If people were aware that the relation between capturing Osama and deposing Saddam was closer to an exclusive disjunction than a biconditional, they'd see how the Iraq war was a distraction from fighting terrorism.)


Dennis said...

Leaving the debate aside (other than that I wonder whether Bush's spinners actually believe what they're saying; I admit they could, but if so I want some of whatever they're smoking), I continue to think that this is the canonical cartoon for this election. Other candidates?

Neil Sinhababu said...

Yeah, I like that one a lot! But as for "canonical cartoon of the election," I hope that's not the one, 'cuz our boy loses if it is.

Blar said...

Kerry really hit the second of those points home, and he managed to do so while avoiding the phrase "closer to an exclusive disjunction than a biconditional." He gets big points for that.

He passed on the first point, though, even though Bush set it up for him by talking about how Saddam had no intention to disarm and so forth. Apparently, Kerry thinks it would make his Iraq message too complicated or not tough enough on Saddam to point out that Saddam was cooperating and that he did not actually have significant banned weapons.

Thomas said...

Key facts?

"We had Osama pinned down in Tora Bora"? Who's the "we"? The "we" couldn't refer to US forces, who weren't yet on the ground in significant numbers. (That's the reason that American forces weren't used--they weren't there yet, and if Bush had rejected the Pentagon's advice and taken the heavy-US-forces line, they wouldn't have been on the ground until months later.) And the idea that they weren't on the ground yet in significant numbers in December of 2001 because they'd already been diverted to Iraq is too ridiculous to merit a response. Finally, it isn't clear that Osama bin Laden was even at Tora Bora at the time.

Perhaps you should learn a bit about the facts before pontificating. You don't know much more than the average undecided voter.

Neil Sinhababu said...

As you see above, I do not claim that US troops were diverted to Iraq -- merely that US military planners were told to focus on Iraq at that time, and that this decreased their ability to properly plan Osama's capture. And given that 2,000 US troops were in the Arabian Sea and Pakistan at the time to capture Bin Laden, it's inexcusable that the escape routes to Pakistan weren't closed off.

If you're going to criticize things I didn't say and advance arguments that are based on complete factual confusion, at least be polite about it.