false equivalence stacked on innuendo

Rachel Neuwirth, in Nagging questions about the war in Iraq (American Thinker 05ma25), illustrates the falsity of equivalence stacked on top of the nagging inuendo.

Nagging questions about the Iraq war remain unanswered. Both advocates and opponents have failed to address a range of issues even when they seemingly could be used to bolster their respective positions. Until and unless we obtain answers to some of the questions presented here it will be difficult to fully trust the judgment of either side in this debate.

The innuendo is that of “nagging questions.” These have resulted in numerous commissions and reports and remain nagging only because these reports don’t support, confirm, or even allow room for the suspicions of those who have ‘nagging’ problems with what is actually known.

The matter of putting unfounded allegation and suspicion on a par with policy established by due process is also something to question. If there is no standard to distinguish between these, then what is being used to guide action and belief?

The conclusion “We cannot arrive at the best decisions as long as so many important questions remain unanswered and even unasked.” sounds so nice that one can tend to overlook the implicit a-priori assumptions behind it. These are assumptions of incompetence and corruption in government. These are assumptions that accountability structures are inadequate, weak, and easily circumvented. These are assumptions that foreign policy cannot be delegated to elected and appointed representatives. These are the assumptions that every part of a deal with foreign powers and every bit of information used in forming policy must be made available to all. These are assumptions of hubris that disagreement is an indication of inferiority.

The nagging question should be why people cast such aspersions rather than finding answers – and accepting the answers even if they don’t like them.

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