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imperialism & war | political theory

Burden of the Proof

In a speech Monday Cheney used language against war critics like "shameless", "reprehensible", "dishonest" and "corrupt". Yet within the context of this very speech Cheney shamelessly presents a dishonest, corrupt, and reprehensible argument rationalizing the administration's occupation of Iraq.
In a speech Monday to Wyoming supporters Vice President Dick Cheney accused his critics of "corrupt and shameless revisionism" in the ever widening and increasingly bitter debate over pre-war intelligence. Yet, it is the "corrupt and shameless" lies and propaganda of this administration that has earned our scrutiny. Not only has this administration knowingly given Congress and the American public faulty and misleadingly edited intelligence, but has repeatedly used invalid arguments in their rationalizations for war. Monday Cheney argued that, "We never had the burden of proof", concerning the existence of WMD in Iraq. He insisted it was up to Saddam Hussein to prove to the world that he did not have weapons of mass destruction. Now, I know critical thinking is not high on America's educational priority list, rendering such poor arguments effective propaganda. Cheney, however, knows what he is doing when he appeals to such poor arguments with no logical legs.
If we, like most developed nations, were a country that funded education to adequate levels so that our people would be taught to think critically, to understand a valid argument, as well as the smell of propaganda, we would be able to immediately identify this particular argument as absurd. Cheney's logic, or in this case his demonstrable and intentional lack of logic, is to demanded the affirmation of a negative, a chain of reasoning not unlike asking ones opponent to prove that unicorns, fairies, or God do not exist. You see, a negative cannot be proven. One cannot prove to someone who does not want to believe the probable, the nonexistence of a thing, that something does not exist. The logic that a nation must prove its innocence in regards to a charge, not the aggressor the guilt, can rationalize any aggression. Based on Cheney's faulty argument the invasion of any country, as no one can prove they are not hiding something, can be justified.
Not unlike other so called arguments this administration has put forth, the fallacy is meant to deny the truth of the opposite, that the political/logical/moral obligation, the burden of proof was directly upon this administration, prior to establishing the killing fields that are occupied Iraq. This administration has harmed an entire nation of innocent people as well as the bulk of our combat and reserve troops. Young lives have been wasted; mothers will suffer a lifetime of mourning for lost sons and daughters. "What is not legitimate - and I will again say is dishonest and reprehensible", is not the charges of war critics that intelligence was fixed (material evidence exists that it was), but Cheney's exploitation of the uncritical American mind with bogus argument and propaganda. We are owed an explanation that goes beyond spin, fallacies, propaganda and lies.

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nice 22.Nov.2005 16:17

j

piece.