Saturday, February 11, 2006

Addressing subterfuge in criticism of Paul R. Pillar

My freshman comp class was taught by an asshole grad student who just wanted us to persuade, persuade, persuade (Vonnegut would say that- "persuade, persuade, persuade"). I dropped the asshole's class and signed up for a community college class taught by a real writer, I believe her name was Barbara Slivac, who focused on writing clearly, i.e. being understood, not bullshitting.

All the brainpower in the world can't make a strong argument if the argument is laced with bullshit. And directing brainpower at making a confusing argument based on vagueries is still a form of lying- I guess you could call it subterfuge.

The willingness to lie, decieve and redirect attention is what seems to separate those arguing, apparently, for President Bush and Company from those arguing against. How can you believe the arguments of anyone who distorts the facts or distracts attention from the issues?

I ended up at the Weekly Standard when I was looking for this article by a guy who worked at the CIA for 28 years. The article argues that BushCo intended to invade Iraq all along, and used the CIA in making a case to the public that Iraq was a threat to the U.S. Google News, which is so good at showing articles by lots of different news publishers, had a link the to shifty and vague bullshit-factory The Weekly Standard right at the top. Hooray! (That's what Vonnegut would say- "hooray!")

My jaw dropped when I read this article and this blog post at The Weekly Standard. The Weekly Standard is indeed a pitiful bullshit-factory which apparenlty intends to somehow legitimize some of the crazy things the Bush administration is up to. There's plenty of vague assumptions, re-direction of attention, and attempts to sabotage the credibility of anyone making anti-BushCo arguments. You'll also find a pseudo-intellectualism that tries to cover an argument structure that's about as clear as mud. The Standard also does not acknowledge that people speaking out against BushCo, such as Paul R. Pillar, the retired CIA official, are making very serious charges, that if true will land Bush and all the top NeoCons in jail. The Standard, in the obviously hastily written articles I read, does not directly address the arguments made by BushCo critics. It's as if writers at the Standard believed the loser grad student who taught my Reagan-era freshman comp class, and his arguments that writing was all about persuasion. I call it bullshit.

No comments: