Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Fight fair, children

Here’s today’s lesson in argumentation.

One of many logical fallacies used to throw the audience off-kilter is the ad hominem attack. This approach attacks not the substance, merits, logic, etc. of the opponent’s argument, but the person him-or-herself. You know this from the playground: name-calling.

Let’s take a trip around the blogosphere and see if we can find any examples.

The Drudge Report, among others, suggests that Cindy Sheehan is that favorite right-wing demon, a flip-flopper.

Angry in the Great White North, providing a public service by offering long-distance psychoanalysis online, diagnoses Sheehan as suffering from displacement.

Confederate Yankee seems to characterize her as a megalomaniac, announcing that she thinks she’s the most important mother in the world. (Scroll down to “Go to hell, Cindy Sheehan.”)

Right Equals Might, like many, simply calls Sheehan a moonbat.

Yeah, those eloquent arguments will sway MY opinion.

Oh, heck, you do the Google search and find more examples on your own. I’m too annoyed.

This is not civil discourse.

(Revised slightly from an earlier post to satisfy a compulsive need for grammatical and syntactic perfection.)


Confederate Yankee said...


You are indeed entitled to your opinion, but pardon me for noticing your obvious bias.

Cindy Sheehan has trampled upon everything her son stood for, and has the audacity to use his death to push her political agenda, one that endangers our soldiers and emboldens the enemy. She calls our President a murderer, and we're the one's guilty of ad hom attacks?

she murders her son's memory every time she opens her mouth.

Please tell me who has committed the greater crime.

Bitty said...

Confederate Yankee,

I never said she wasn't guilty of the same! Perhaps, in fairness, I could have pointed out that she too is engaging in ad hominem accusations. However, the fact that Sheehan is behaving in a certain way does not cancel or excuse the same behavior in others.

I have thus far accused no one of committing a crime. (Yes, I know, Sheehan did. At another time, I might argue the "crime" angle, but I'm not in that state of mind right now.) I did accuse some folks of using name-calling in place of logic, or perhaps to distract from logic.

I'm also fairly certain that the President of the United States uses the death of 1800-plus soldiers to push his political agenda (e.g., "We have to honor the sacrifices of the fallen by completing the mission..."), one that for absolute certain endangers our understaffed, underequipped soldiers (e.g., umpteen Marines killed while traveling CROSS COUNTRY in an underarmored AMPHIBIOUS vehicle). There's nothing you or I or Cindy Sheehan can do or fail to do that would make the enemy any less bold. And they need no encouragement to be more bold; their boldness seems only to be limited by their own imaginations and ability.

And, respectfully, pardon me for noticing your obvious bias.

But I respect your right to express it. As I respect Cindy Sheehan's.

Confederate Yankee said...

bitty, please make sure you have your facts straight before you make accusations okay? Our units are not "undermanned". That is liberal opinion, not the military's assessment. Want to guess who knows more about the subject? I didn't think so.

That "underarmored" AAV weighed 26 tons, was designed for "dry" work as well as amphibious duty. It is first and foremost an APC, but one that floats.

It was tossed high into the air and a considerable distance by a massive IED. There is not a single armored vehicle on this planet--NONE--that would have survived such a massive blast. In addition, we have the most heavily armored military in the history of warfare... did you know that? I didn't think so. But all the armor in the world doesn't matter when the Iranians start supplying terrorists with advanced anti-armor weapons.

Also, bias does indeed make a world of difference. The North Vietnamese said they considered suing for peace until they saw that they could win becuase of the anti-war movement here in the United States, and changed their tactics. Cowards here then forced us out of southeast asia, and as a result 2 million people died in Cambodia, and millions more still remain enslaved under communism.

Wars only end in two ways: when the enemy has lost the physical ability to wage war (he has no more weapons or troops) or when the enemy loses the will to fight.

The Cindy Sheehans and Jane Fondas of this world give the enemy the one thing they need more than ammunition: hope.

By her actions, Cindy Sheehan and others like her support the enemy will to fight, meaning that we must fight longer and harder to break their will, or we are forced to destroy all their physical capbility. Either way they draw it out, many more people will die on both side who didn't have to if people like Cindy Sheehan would keep her hatred to herself.

School's out.

But no, she can't do that can she? She hates President Bush, and will do any hurtful thing she can against him, not caring how many deaths she'll cause in the process.

Waveflux said...

Confederate Yankee:

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Theodore Roosevelt

When a war is wrong from its inception, dissent is not just patriotic, it is mandatory.

Also: When it comes to people speaking on behalf of Casey Sheehan, I'll take my cues from his mother and not you. But thanks much for slandering Cindy Sheehan; it makes your position very clear.

Finally: I'm not sure you have a good grasp on the whole "ad hominem" thing.