Tuesday, September 30, 2014

 Michael Scheuer's  Dilemma: Which fallacy serves me best?

 1. Bait-and-switch is a form of fraud used in sales but also employed in other contexts. First, customers are "baited" by merchants' advertising products or services at a low price, but when customers visit the store, they discover that the advertised goods are not available, and the customers are pressured by sales people to consider similar, but higher priced items.

2.  An association fallacy is an inductive informal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. The two types are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association. Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and can be based on an appeal to emotion

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From a conversation between CNN's Michael Smerconish and Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA's Bin Laden desk:


SMERCONISH: Before you leave me, give me the plan. So if Michael Scheuer were dictating that which the United States should be doing, it would be what?

SCHEUER: Close the southern border so we don't end up fighting using the U.S. military inside the United States. Begin to put together the excel pipeline, build it, drill offshore, get us energy sufficient so we can dump those tyrants that are part of our coalition now. The Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Emiratis. They are the people that should be getting killed in this, not Americans. And finally, we need to separate ourselves from Israel. It's an enormous drag on American - it's a cancer on American foreign policy.

SMERCONISH: You know that people will hear this and find those words objectionable and say they are our only friend in the Middle East, the only democracy, the only people we can trust in that part, why would we ever turn our backs on the Israelis?

SCHEUER: I find it objectionable to send my college age kids to fight and die so Mrs. Mohammed can vote in an Afghan election and then after all of those kids died to run away and leave the country t go back to the Taliban. I'll take the abuse if people can explain what in the world this political elite is doing to our young people.

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Please note the following two points:

1. Scheuer's description of Israel as "an enormous drag on American - it's a cancer on American foreign policy."

2. In Scheuer's response to Smerconish's question about this pronouncement, Israel disappears:

"I find it objectionable to send my college age kids to fight and die so Mrs. Mohammed can vote in an Afghan election and then after all of those kids died to run away and leave the country to go back to the Taliban."

What can be the meaning of this?

Is it a bait-and-switch deception in which  "Israel is a cancer" the bait and  "Mrs. Mohammed" of Afghanistan the switch?
Is it association fallacy, in which Afghanistan and Israel are implied to share the same inherent qualities, and the nasty characterizations of Israel as a cancer and the Afghan woman as "Mrs. Mohammed" are intended to arouse the same disgust in certain kinds of viewers? Despite the fact that these two places and entities are completely irrelevant and different to each other?
 
Any which way you wish to parse this odd discourse it stinks of bad faith and ill-will, either towards Israel, that is indeed as Smerconish stated, "the only people we can trust in that part," or the Afghan woman whom Scheuer sneeringly refers to as "Mrs. Mohammed" or both.   

3 Comments:

At 2:09 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fwiw, the new Afghan president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's wife Rula is a Lebanese-American Christian.
Ahmadzai is from a very interesting and influential Pashtun tribal family.

No one at CNN line-up ever follows up ANY bizarre statement from a guest talking head.

CNN created the myth of Tahrir Square twitterers.

CNN obsessed over Ferguson.

Now, CNN is so focussed on US boots, that their guest talking heads follow the CNN lead.

Now you know why Fox News always leads CNN.

send in Mr. Wickham... :)




 
At 7:24 AM EDT, Anonymous Michael F. Scheuer said...

Sir,

I meant to say that it would not matter a lick to genuine U.S. national security interests if Israel and/or Palestine disappeared from the face of the earth. Both are a cancer on U.S. foreign policy/national security, but Israel much more so because the fifth column of U.S. citizen Israel-Firsters have corrupted much of the U.S. Congress and media.

Respectfully, M.F. Scheuer

 
At 8:10 AM EDT, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

With respect, Mr. Scheuer, though I appreciate your candour it doesn't clarify why you answered Smerconish's question about Israel by referring to the Afghan "Mrs. Mohammed". In what way are these two subjects connected? And more curious, why wouldn't you answer direct Smerconish's question? After all, your sincerity seems to be a staple of your honesty in which you take a certain pride, no?

"SMERCONISH: You know that people will hear this and find those words objectionable and say they are our only friend in the Middle East, the only democracy, the only people we can trust in that part, why would we ever turn our backs on the Israelis?

SCHEUER: I find it objectionable to send my college age kids to fight and die so Mrs. Mohammed can vote in an Afghan election and then after all of those kids died to run away and leave the country t go back to the Taliban. I'll take the abuse if people can explain what in the world this political elite is doing to our young people."

 

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