November 1, 2006

"Stuck in Iraq"

I have very little to say about the Kerry brouhaha ("You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.") other than that I find it pretty absurd for the President to lambaste Kerry for supposedly insulting the men and women he has needlessly sent to war.

But more importantly, I want to direct you to Vox Baby, where Professor Samwick has applied his typically trenchant insight to the matter:
Most of the fallout has been criticism of the Senator for saying that members of the armed forces services in Iraq are not smart, despite the clarification [that Kerry was referring to the folks who got us stuck in the war, not to the soldiers].

This fallout is misguided, even focusing on what he said initially. His critics are insisting that the members of the armed forces serving in Iraq are smart. I agree with their assessment, but their examples are not relevant here. These examples falsify the statement:

"If you are serving in Iraq, then you are not smart."

He didn't say this. He said:

"If you are not smart, then you get stuck in Iraq."

To falsify this statement, you need to find people who are not smart who are not stuck in Iraq. It's very easy to do that as well. You could start with people who don't understand the structure of if-then statements who are stuck in the Senate, if you wanted to.

1 comment:

  1. Although I admire the professor's insight (trenchant, yes), the use of logical formalisms to address politicians' statements and misstatements is depressingly futile. Would that our representatives actually relied upon logic in formulating not only their words but also their policy proposals.