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Heh ... yeah, Glenn, it’s a different argument
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sure it is:

In reaction to my post yesterday about Greenwald's revival of the "new and improved" chickenhawk meme:
That response would be valid if I had asserted the generic "chicken hawk" claim as they describe it — that, as a general proposition, anyone who supports the war must fight in it. Not only did I not argue that, but I expressly repudiated that view. That makes their analogies plainly inapplicable, because in the cases they describe, nobody is arguing that the fate of the Republic is threatened by a shortage of people willing to do those jobs.
Of course the "fate of the Republic" is not any more threatened by a loss in Iraq than it is by a failure to mobilize the teachers necessary to adequately educate our young. It is simply a matter of interpretation as to which constitutes the biggest threat to the "fate of the Republic", as it were.

So no, Mr. Greenwald, the analogy is quite apt and quite applicable and you know it. I assume, as a backer of tax-payer funded secondary education and understanding the impact of critical teacher shortages, you'll be signing up today to help out in that field.

You can read all of the twists and turns in Mr. Greewald's argument, such that is is, in his Update V.
 
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Sure it is:
It is a different argument, subtly different, but still different. That is made clear in his update whereas I found it less clear in his initial post (I once got accused of word-mongering by a journal reviewer; I ain’t got nothing on Glenn).

If indeed Greenwald has heard pundits and commentators arguing that this is a clash of civilizations and by losing this war it is potentially disasterous for the fate of the Republic then his argument might have some merit. You say:
Of course the "fate of the Republic" is not any more threatened by a loss in Iraq than it is by a failure to mobilize the teachers necessary to adequately educate our young. It is simply a matter of interpretation as to which constitutes the biggest threat to the "fate of the Republic", as it were.
Which is fine, you clearly do not believe that America is in grave danger over a failure in Iraq, therefore his argument does not apply to you: you would not be labelled a ’chickenhawk’ I guess the onus here is on Greenwald to provide evidence that those that he has criticised do espouse such a belief.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
Which is fine, you clearly do not believe that America is in grave danger over a failure in Iraq, therefore his argument does not apply to you:
No Kav, it doesn’t apply at all. It simply is word salad as I pointed out yesterday because at base it argues that whatever one believes in, that person is compelled, by morality, to insert themselves in the effort if the effort claims a need (in this case a shortage of personnel).

That’s patent nonsense. The fact that someone finds Iraq to be very important, even to the point of constituting a "grave danger" to America’s existence doesn’t mean the effort to change that is best served by them joining the military, even in a time of supposed need.

Never mind the fact that the end-strength of the military is already set by Congress and met by recruiting, the fact remains that not all contributions to our success in Iraq are to be made militarily.

Secondly, one has to buy into the premise, as has apparently Greenwald, that the Kagan plan is the best plan for Iraq (and, of course I don’t believe for a moment he does) and all supporters of the war buy into it. I certainly don’t buy into that, although I am a supporter of the war. Greewald’s premise is as disengenuous as his argument. I’m not certain any of the pro-war pundits he likes to go after have bought into either. That doesn’t change the fact they find success in Iraq to be important.

Nope, his is an argument without merit. He’s stipulating something that he can’t stipulate simply because it is convenient for again jabbing at these pundits.

And of course, you see Greenwald’s unwillingness to buy into my premise that a critical lack of teachers is a much more profound threat to the "fate of the Republic" (which, btw, it most likely is in the long run) and education supporters should be signing on to teach. Based on his argument, and my arbitrary stipulation, it’s as "valid" a point as is his.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
No Kav, it doesn’t apply at all. It simply is word salad as I pointed out yesterday because at base it argues that whatever one believes in, that person is compelled, by morality, to insert themselves in the effort if the effort claims a need (in this case a shortage of personnel).
It is more than that though; it is not just if an effort claims a need, it is to do with the scale of the effort and the scale of the need. If the result of not inserting oneself is eventually the end of a way of life that one enjoys and believes fervently in as well as the deaths or subjugation of loved ones then is that a big enough need?. If you do not think that you have a moral compulsion at that stage that is fine but some would argue otherwise and it is clearly a matter of opinion.
The fact that someone finds Iraq to be very important, even to the point of constituting a "grave danger" to America’s existence doesn’t mean the effort to change that is best served by them joining the military, even in a time of supposed need.
That’s right, I agree completely. There are other things that they could do. But Greenwald is talking very specifically (according to his update) not in generalities and (if I recall correctly) is talking about the call for more troops made by his ’chickenhawks’ as if that were the key issue that they are pushing. They make it the key issue and so one has to follow their logic through to evaluate their actions in their frame of reference.
...the fact remains that not all contributions to our success in Iraq are to be made militarily.
indeed
Secondly, one has to buy into the premise, as has apparently Greenwald, that the Kagan plan is the best plan for Iraq (and, of course I don’t believe for a moment he does) and all supporters of the war buy into it.
Okay, I don’t get this. Perhaps I misread Greenwald piece (or perhaps you did) I cannot check at the moment as I am encountering an internal server error when I try to get there. Greenwald does not have to have bought into the premise that the Kagan plan is the best plan he just has to show that those he is criticising do, it is their frame of reference that he is using not his own. Similarly he is not using it against all supporters of the war and so all supporters of the war need not buy into it...
I certainly don’t buy into that, although I am a supporter of the war. Greewald’s premise is as disengenuous as his argument.
...and I pointed out that the argument is not used against you, you doe not fit the criteria mentioned.
I’m not certain any of the pro-war pundits he likes to go after have bought into either. That doesn’t change the fact they find success in Iraq to be important.
Now we get to the real problem with his argument. As I said the onus is on him to show that those who he is criticising do buy into the ’critical disaster for the Republic’ way of thinking of the Iraq war and the only way is for there to be X more troops available. It is not enough for the pundits to simply state that success in Iraq is important, rather he must show that they believe it (or claim to believe it) to be all important for the continuing existence of the USA (or western civilization as I seem to recall he suggested that some thought). He needs to provide evidence of this. In fact even if there are those who fit Greenwald’s narrow criteria they could justify their non-interest in joining up or encouraging their ’supporters’ (for want of a better word) to join up if they are already doing something in their mind as equally vital to the success in Iraq; following their logic and in their frame of reference.
And of course, you see Greenwald’s unwillingness to buy into my premise that a critical lack of teachers is a much more profound threat to the "fate of the Republic" (which, btw, it most likely is in the long run) and education supporters should be signing on to teach. Based on his argument, and my arbitrary stipulation, it’s as "valid" a point as is his.
That’s right, it is valid for you if he believes that a lack of teachers is necessary. It all depends on whose frame of reference you are using. If Greenwald (for lack of a better example) were making speeches and posts about the terror that is education in the USA and personally identified (or agreed with someone else’s assessment) that the answer is a fresh new batch of educators then he would be a hypocrite of the highest order if he sat on his arse and did not at least apply to see if he was suitable for the job. However if he is not saying this, and does not believe this, then within his frame of reference he is not a ’chicken-teacher’ no matter what you or anyone else would call him.

It’s all hyperbole and a way of whacking at the opponent but for the exceptionally narrow criteria Greenwald laid out it is valid. I just truly doubt that anyone actually meets those criteria.

Here is a not great exapmle of what I am getting at.

Imagine you and I are rushing to avert a disaster and we come across a broken rope bridge across a ravine. I look at the gap and determine that there is little chance we could make the jump and so I suggest that we go back and find another route. You look at the gap and determine that there is a good chance we could make it. I say that you are crazy because in my view (my frame of reference) it is better to go back and around instead of plunging to our deaths. You call me a coward since you think we can make it and so therefore should go forward. In this scenario in my frame of reference I am being sensible and there is nothing cowardly involved, I set off back with no sense of shame or guilt. You jump the ravine and continue forward.

Now imagine the same scenrio except that this time when I look at the ravine I think I could make it but I am scared sh*tless of trying just in case. I once again demure and you call me a coward. Now in my frame of reference the label sticks because my refusal to jump comes from other than a belief in the futility of the act. When you jump and make it I am still a coward in my eyes and yours.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
Since that last comment was so short I thought I should add more.

Basically, you and I both think his argument does not hold up to scrutiny (i.e. it’s pooh) but for different reasons that overlap.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
So Greenwald is questioning our patriotism. Is it ok to do that now? Like how Francis questioned our patriotism yesterday.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Now imagine the same scenrio except that this time when I look at the ravine I think I could make it but I am scared sh*tless of trying just in case.
Wouldn’t the chickenhawk argument be that you think others should make the attempt to jump, and in fact you encourage and cheer them on, but you refuse to make the jump yourself?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Wouldn’t the chickenhawk argument be that you think others should make the attempt to jump, and in fact you encourage and cheer them on, but you refuse to make the jump yourself?
Isn’t that just an Evil Knevil show?
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
two more years...two more years...two more years..
 
Written By: MinorRipper
URL: http://
He questioned your patriotism? I missed that. I am of the opinion that it is perfectly fine to question somebody’s patriotism if they have been found guilty of treason or seditious acts. Other than that? Well, not so much.

JWG: I said it was a not so good example, but it was an example of applying different frames of reference instead of absolutes not of a chickenhawk argument.

That said I laughed at the comment, but I laughed more at ChrisB’s comment below yours :-)
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
I laughed more at ChrisB’s comment below yours
I agree. It makes one think. Of what, I’m not sure yet...but it seems like something profound is lurking in there somewhere.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Basically, you and I both think his argument does not hold up to scrutiny (i.e. it’s pooh) but for different reasons that overlap.
Sorry I had to run out on you earlier Kav, but I’m on the road today and presently sitting in beautiful Asheville NC in a snow storm (which, btw, is quite a rare thing for this warm winter).

Yes, we both do think his argument doesn’t hold up to scrutiny but not necessarily for different reasons, but for reasons I think you’d agree with if I could think of the proper way to articulate them.

Aw well ...
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
ChrisB: I did not impugn anyone’s patriotism. I suggested that those conservative commentators who argue that the Iraq war is an existential crisis for this country, but fail to call for unpopular measures, are putting their own economic concerns ahead of the country’s concerns.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://

 
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