Thursday, October 07, 2004

In the spirit of partisanship, here is a link to the DNC website with the latest ad based on the vice-presidential debate - this one is right on target, I think.


At 12:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you say "right on target" do you mean it is likely to be effective as a political ad or do you mean you agree with what it says/implies ?


At 1:36 AM, Blogger alex said...

i meant that i agree with it.

i'm not actually sure how effective it will be - "this is the first time i've ever met you" was a nice moment during the debate, but to viewers who have not watched it the first part of the ad would most likely appear petty.

if you do not agree, it would be great if you made the case against it in the comments (or generally against all the pro-kerry stuff i routinely write)

At 2:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm ... well for the moment let's put aside the first bit about the "never met you" zinger gone awry and focus on the 9-11 / Iraq connection. I'm all for holding people accountable for their statements or misstatements but to me this just doesn't seem to be one of those. Can we agree that the creators of the ad would have used the most damaging footage that existed? And yet not one of the clips they use against Cheney shows him saying Iraq participated in the 9-11 attacks. What it does show is Cheney repeatedly alleging a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq. That's a big difference. Al Qaeda is an organization. The attacks and their planning were an event. Whenever I've heard Kerry/Edwards in the news saying that Cheney has made that 9-11 connection I always have the same reaction, thinking to myself that I've never heard him say that. And apparently he hasn't. If the Left want to blame Cheney for making a hazy IMPLICATION that's one thing, but semantically they have not shown the quoted debate statement to be anything other than accurate. By implying that the clips prove something that they don't, the ad itself is dishonest. (Not that such is anything new from either side.)


At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 12:16 PM, Blogger alex said...


It seems to me like its splitting hairs to treat the statements "Iraq is connected to 9/11" and "Iraq is connected to Al Qaeda" as being different. Don't you think its rather Clintonesque? If Iraq helped Al Qaeda in any way, that makes it complicit in 9/11 whether it helped plan the attacks or not.

At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I really don't see it that way. Al Qaeda is a big operation that have taken responsibility or been blamed for several different attacks both before and after 9-11. The Cole bombing. The African embassy attacks. To use the the logic you describe means Cheney is also blaming Iraq for being involved in those. I don't think that matches what he's saying any more than 9-11. Now I agree that by making any connection at all between Sadam and Al Qaeda, the administration is banking on people to emotionally "jump the gap" to the next conclusion, as reflected by that poll shown in the DNC ad, but when Cheney denies at the debate that he has connected Iraq with 9-11, he seems to be literally telling the truth, and for the DNC to label him a liar for that denial is wrong. If they had accused him of saying apples were red and then shown tape of him describing apples as purplish they would not have made their case. Cheney may be guilty of something but the DNC are off target in the charges they've brought against him here. By contrast, showing the VP and Sen. Edwards shaking hands in 2001 when he's just said he never met the guy is prima facie evidence, and makes the rest of the ad seem very weak.


At 1:52 PM, Blogger alex said...

I'll agree that if one interprets Cheney's statement as "I've never said Iraq participated in the 9/11 attacks" then the DNC attack is way off.

But at the very least you have to acknowledge that this is not the only way to interpret his statement - and in my opinion not the most natural way. After all, he did not use "participated" but the much weaker "connected"; and if Iraq gave Al Qaeda & Zarawi safe shelter (as Cheney alleged in the very same debate) its difficult to claim that its not connected to 9/11.

By that logic, the only way to be connected to 9/11 is to be one of the hijackers or one of the planners; whereas I think the word connected means something much weaker than that.

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DNC ad clip has Cheney from the debate saying "I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and the 9-11" and I believe this to be a true statement based on what I've been able to find. In fact he has avoided "suggesting" it in exchanges like the following:
[from Meet the Press, September 14th, 2003]

VP Cheney: "If we can stand up a good representative government in Iraq ... we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assaulted now for many years but most especially on 9/11. ... They understand what's at stake here. That's one of the reasons they're putting up as much of a struggle as they have, is because they know if we succeed here, Iraq, that that's going to strike a major blow at their capabilities,"

Tim Russert: "So the resistance in Iraq is coming from those who were responsible for 9/11?"

Cheney: "No, I was careful not to say that, ..."
I just think that the DNC ad wants to show a smoking gun but fails to do so. I guess for me it comes down to, if you want to brand someone a liar rather than just accusing them of disingenuous-ness, you must interpret statements quite literally to *prove* that assertion. As for whether the larger inference that any harboring of Al Qaeda MUST be a connection to 9-11, if you believe that then you are helping make Cheney's case. As far as I know the (minimal) contacts the administration has cited have not been disproven.

And is it Ayman al-Zawahri who Iraq is accused of harboring, or the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? I thought it was the latter, and I don't think he was implicated in the 9-11 attacks. I could be wrong.

Thanks for the dialogue by the way.


At 8:39 PM, Blogger alex said...

I think we are actually basically in agreement here - you would prefer that the ads accuse cheney of disingenuous-ness rather than lying.

And indeed, when democrats accuse the administration of lying they really mean something along the lines of misrepresenting the evidence - perhaps it would be better to call that being disingenuous instead.

Am I really making Cheney's case when I say that aid to Al Qaeda is a connection to 9/11? I don't think so. In my opinion, if Saddam helped Al Qaeda in any way, that makes all the anti-war arguments irrelevant. But there is no convincing evidence for this, which is why I would be among those who now think that the war was a mistake.

It was Zarqawi that Cheney cited in the debate as being in Baghdad - an odd charge because Zarqawi ran an Ansar-al-Islam training camp in the Kurdish area not controlled by Saddam Hussein - as far as I know, Cheney was making stuff up when he that Zarqawi was in Baghdad. Powell referred to Zarqawi as "essentially Al Qaeda" a while back, another questionable assertion with no supporting evidence that has the advantage of making Iraq and Al Qaeda seem closer.

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