Saturday, September 22, 2007

Slacktivist on Petraeus testimony

Slacktivist makes a great point about Petraeus' testimony before congress:
But set aside the facts and their bias against Petraeus' testimony -- his argument simply makes no sense. One could argue that the surge was not working, and therefore ought to be ended. Or one could argue that the surge is working, and therefore ought to be continued. But to argue, as both Gen. Petraeus and President Bush did, that it is working and therefore must be stopped is just bizarre. The general and the president both came across like something out of Lewis Carroll.


Which brings us to the bullshit. President Bush knew that the surge, whether or not it accomplished anything, was scheduled to end by next April. Gen. Petraeus knew this. All of the members of the House and Senate committees before which the general testified knew this. All of the media pundits offering color commentary from the wings knew this. Everybody knew this.

Yet Gen. Petraeus and President Bush decided to pretend that they didn't know this. Both of them got up and offered their incoherent "the strategy is working so we must end it" argument, disingenuously claiming that the reason for this step had nothing to do with what they both knew -- and they knew we knew -- was the real reason. Gen. Petraeus said things he knew weren't true. Usually, that's called lying, but Dr. Harry G. Frankfurt makes the case that lying is an attempt to deceive, which involves at least a backhanded respect for the truth. Shoveling nonsense with utter disregard for the truth, not caring even if those who hear it are deceived, is what Dr. Frankfurt classifies, with professorial precision, as bullshit.

By the way, Slacktivist's critique of the Left Behind series continues to be one of my favorite series of blog posts.


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