Logomachon






Clearing the Fog
in the
War of Words

 

   
  logomachy--1. A dispute about words. 2. A dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words.
logomachon--1. One who argues about words. 2. A word warrior.

   
   
   
 

2004-08-02
 

Mark Steyn's Rhetorical Silver Bullet

Mark Steyn's rhetorical silver bullet

The next time WMD, Bush lied, etc. comes up:
Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response.[JFKy]

Got that? If the Empire State Building's taken out, he'll certainly respond to it. Next time 'round, there won't be any mistakes about where the WMD are because they'll be in the middle of a big crater in Chicago.
UPDATE:

Kerry's firm, impassioned commitment with wiggle room

My 15-year-old niece immediately pointed out that Kerry's promise of a "swift and certain response" to an attack came within 45 seconds of a promise never to send US troops into harm’s way without exhausting all other options. Maybe he hopes to finesse the difference by sending French troops before he has exhausted all other options.

Nyahh! Unfortunately, while we understood him--and were meant to understand him--to be saying "exhausting all other options", what he said is more muddled and uncertain than that.
...Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: "I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way. But we had no choice. We had to protect the American people, fundamental American values from a threat that was real and imminent."
...
...
...
And we need to rebuild our alliances, so we can get the terrorists before they get us.

I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President. Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security.
Protecting fundamental American values is not the same as protecting the American people. He declared health care for all and equality for women to be fundamental American values. Are we going to war with Iran or North Korea over those? Sounds like a war of choice to me.

A lot depends on the relationship between these two sentences: "I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response."
Are they, with the next sentence, part of a crescendo? Or does the second sentence explain "when force is required". Certainly, after an attack there is no "real and imminent" threat.

And if you follow the logic of "And we need to rebuild our alliances, so we can get the terrorists before they get us", it seems that other nations do, after all, have a veto over our national security (leaving aside all the other ways the assumptions and insinuations of the sentence are wrong). If other nations don't cooperate, the terrorists will get us first.

Kerry wants to sound a firm and impassioned commitment and still leave himself wiggle room. He gives the game away when he explains why we need to get France and Germany to help.
...We need a President who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers. That's the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

So defending American values is too burdensome, too costly, and too risky for the American people? What kind of commitment to America is that?!?! If that line was intended to give the undecided and swayable Americans a reason to start to lean toward him, it is an insult. If it was intended to appeal to the values of the Democratic core, the convention delegates, it is a condemnation.

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2004-08-01
 

A few clarifications from the DNC

A few clarifications from the DNC



I listened to Kerry's acceptance speech as I drove home from the gym. I went to bed thinking "Vapid". While I slept, electrons buzzed and burned as the blogsphere dissected the speech en masse and in detail. Conservatives were as one in finding the opening "reporting for duty" nauseous. Many pointed out that Kerry's Iraq policy was what Bush is doing, that Kerry's "war on terror" would be defensive and reactive, that the "faith and values" talk was all mendacious, insinuating Bush-bashing, and that the economic policy was incoherent, such as ending "corporate welfare" while "reward[ing] the companies that create and keep good- paying jobs . . . in the good old USA".

And liberals seem to be underwhelmed.

But Kerry isn't the Democratic party. He is its instrument. How the convention reacted to his speech tells us who the party is. Here are a couple of points about how the speech was received that I don't think have been made.

The biggest cheer was for this line, which had pride of place at the beginning of the peroration:
And let's never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States.
As OpinionJournal pointed out, this is a veiled reference to the Federal Marriage Amendment. It brought the whole convention to its feet, not just the Polymorphous Polygamy caucus. So we know what they really care about. The video of the speech shows audience members, including Hilary, turning to each other and nodding--"He got it in. Yeah!"

Nearly as enthusiastic were the reactions to his call for stem cell research and to "we are on God's side". He prefaced the latter with a reference to Lincoln's humble prayer that we might be on God's side, but Democrats don't need to pray on that. They believe they are on the side of history, of the people, of progress. Why not throw God in there; it's a nice affirmation.

The Patriotism Question

"And then, with confidence and determination, we will be able to tell the terrorists: You will lose, and we will win." I'm sure no one at the convention realized that this is yet another crib from a Republican. In 1977, Ronald Reagan told Richard Allen, who would be his National Security Advisor, that his policy toward the Soviet Union would be "simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this: 'We win and they lose.'" On Thursday night, the crowd's reaction was muted and even seemed to be more of a groan than a cheer.

Kerry's brave declaration, in the face of vicious right-wing opposition, "That flag doesn't belong to any president . . . to any ideology . . . to any party. It belongs to all the American people." was well received, but perhaps the Dems were just celebrating stealing the flag.

Random

"I defended this country as a young man . . .". But . . . but . . . Vietnam was an unnecessary, criminal war of aggression, inspired by an inordinate fear of Communism. I thought the real patriots were the draft dodgers. That's what they told us 35 years ago.

John Kerry sounds more dynamic at 140% speed (thank you Windows Media Player).

Unilateralist: A Republican who defends America with a 50-nation coalition.

Multi-lateralist: A Democrat who won't defend America unless France and Red China say OK.

So-called: Anything positive that is achieved during a Republican administration: war coalition, economic recovery, war on terror, religious conviction, improving air/water quality, values, tax cuts, summer weather.

Lying: The difference between what the Democrats say you said and what they now say you should have said.

Nuance: The difference between what the Democrats said then and what they say now.

Fight: 1) Bush: Fight. 2) Kerry: Talk about fighting.
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Bake Sales

Bake Sales



From Kerry's convention speech: "You don't value families if you force them to take up a collection to buy body armor for a son or daughter in the service..."

The bake sales for body armor story has been debunked. But hey, I'm confused. What's all the fuss? I thought it was going to be a wonderful day when the Pentagon had to hold bake sales. Don't tell me this is another Democrat flip-flop!
As for John "Band of Mongols" Kerry, after he voted for the $87 billion for the Iraq war, he voted against it because it included no-bid contracts. Freedom from no-bid contracts wasn't in FDR's Four Freedoms, and it's not in any GI's list of "400 Freedoms I'm Fighting For".
I'd advise any soldier who is tempted to buy the "Help is on the way" blather to read the fine print, except that Kerry doesn't tell you what the fine print is until it's nuance time.
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