Wednesday, 2 July 2003

WMD, lies, and videotape

Pejman Yousefzadeh isn’t very impressed with Josh Marshall’s logic in arguing that the administration lied about Iraq’s possession of biological and chemical agents. Now, one could plausibly make the argument that the administration lacked sufficient evidence to reach the conclusion that Iraq had WMD, but that’s not the same thing as lying, which—as Pej points out—requires someone to (a) know A is false and then (b) claim A is true (or vice versa).

So, Josh’s argument basically boils down to: the administration didn’t really think there was WMD in Iraq, but expected to find some WMD when they got there to cover their story that there was WMD in Iraq. This is like saying you don’t honestly expect Wendy’s to be selling hamburgers, but you expect Wendy’s to just happen to have some hamburgers lying around the store when you visit to back up your false claim that Wendy’s does, in fact, sell hamburgers.

Josh may be on firmer ground in questioning the credibility of Judith Miller, the New York Times’ ambassador for all things WMD (and whose very existence has been called into question in this weblog). To her credit, though, at least her stories haven’t described the grand vistas of pyramids and pagodas that we’d expect to be present in a Jayson Blair account. (Although, I must say that I find Josh’s belief that Miller’s reporting has helped the case of the hawks laughable.)

You might be a polisci geek if...

Matthew has the list. My fave:

[Y]ou joke about chasing away “Bruce Bueno de Mosquitos” when spraying on insect repellent.

The whole list is pretty good. However, I make my sacrifices to a statue of Neal Beck. To each his own…

More on Strom's legacy

My friend and former colleague Scott Huffmon, an assistant professor of political science at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., gives his perspective on Strom Thurmond’s legacy:

Couple of brief points about Strom (as an expert on southern politics…):
  1. [Steven] Taylor is wrong, he never actually had to use the bucket that had been placed in the cloak room during his 24 hr 18min filibuster (he had purged his body of all excess water by drinking hardly anything and taking constant steam baths for days prior)
  2. He forgot about the wrestling match with [Ralph] Yarborough about [Leroy] Collins’ appt to the Community Relations [Service] in the wake of the CRA of 1964
  3. Strom DID change…he was the first white southern member of Congress to hire a black staffer (in 1971), he was a supporter of the national MLK Jr. holiday in 1986, and he voted to extend the VRA in 1991
  4. it is correct that he is not known for sponsoring any landmark legislation, but he DID serve his constituents amazingly well…including black constituents…eventually
  5. even as a segregationist governor, he helped SC with a business friendly approach that helped alleviate the pain of being virtually abandoned by the navy and bringing SC kicking and screaming out of an agricultural based economy
  6. his REAL impact on the political landscape came with his prominent switch to the Republican party in 1964 along with his help in developing the “southern strategy” (with aid Harry Dent) ...this paved the way for white conservatives across the South to switch parties and irrevocably changed the state of presidential politics, the nature of the Republican party, and (by default with the exodus of southern conservatives) the Democratic party.

Obviously, I am appalled by 90% of his life and career, but to say that he had limited national impact is a fallacy. For good or ill, this man fundamentally altered politics in America.

(I've added a few links and clarifications in brackets.)

A "bold new look" for Signifying Nothing

B. at ShinySideUp likes the new look here at Signifying Nothing. It’s based on the appearance of Daniel Drezner Part 2, and is only ten CSS directives (736 bytes, including comments and @imports) on top of the old stylesheet. If, by some chance, you liked the old look, feel the need to mix it up a little, or don’t particularly enjoy doing timezone conversions in your head, you can always set your preferences.