Saturday, January 27, 2007

Occam's Razor

I believe in Occam's razor. Put in plain English, Occam's razor is the theory that the simplest solution or explanation is the correct one. Nothing is a better example of Occam's razor in action than the discussion of the Iraq war, and the efforts to discredit or silence its critics.

Waaaaaaay back in 2003, there were some disparate, brave souls who dared to question the wisdom behind a pre-emptive war, ranging from Jeremy Glick, whose father died on 9/11 to Brent Scowcroft, Poppy's former national security advisor. There was ample evidence given by Joseph Wilson and Karen Kwiatkowski that the case for the war was full of holes and that the administration was manipulating intelligence. General Eric Shinseki, meanwhile, was pooh-poohed for daring to suggest that a pre-emptive war would require a larger number of troops than Shrub and company were willing to commit.

Clearly, the war critics were not a random sampling of moonbats, leftover hippies, and Saddam apologists. In fact, there was solid evidence that the administration was manipulating the intelligence and the media to build up a case for war. Not that this meant anything to the Bush personality cultists, who badly wanted to believe in a strong leader and didn't like what Wilson, Kwiatkowski, et al. were suggesting.

The president and his cabinet, liars?!?! Playing the public and the media for fools? Surely not! And so they sought to answer these charges by attacking the war critics themselves, not what they were saying. Kwiatkowski was accused of having ties to Lyndon LaRouche...and Wilson, well, we all know what happened to him. (Hey wingnuts, just a reminder: his wife was a covert agent. The CIA said so.)

Dave Neiwert sums up this attack-the-messenger mentality:

Paul O'Neill? Oh, he's just trying to sell a book. Nevermind that his description of Bush as incurious and insular, not to mention incompetent, played out before the nation during the Katrina disaster.

Richard Clarke? Just an embittered loser with an agenda (and a book to sell too!). Nevermind that his concern that the Iraq invasion would be a disastrous diversion from the serious pursuit of a real "war on terrorism" is proving all the more accurate every day.

Brent Scowcroft? Please. He just lives in a pre-9/11 world still.

Bruce Bartlett? Just another disgruntled ex-employee.

Nevermind that all these "Bush haters" are people who have long histories of distinguished service under Republican adminstrations, people who have real credibility on the subjects they're addressing. And all people dismissed with yet another wave of the ad hominem wand.

Well, now the trial of Scooter Libby is underway. And guess what? It turns out the Bush administration really did play everyone for fools. They really did manipulate the media. Cheney's former press assistant Cathie Martin said so. Under oath. On the witness stand.

People? It's not a conspiracy by moonbats or an example of Bush hatred. It's Cheney's press assistant talking. You've been suckered. The whole country has been suckered. There's no hiding from it anymore.