According to a matter-of-fact Kos, Italy "is quiting Iraq".
(Is that what he meant? Well, *not quite*. In Mr. Moulitsas’ defense, my blogging software’s spell check lets "quiting" sail right by, but maybe a quick manual scan of the 55-word composition would’ve averted this uncomely citation from the spelling police.)
Anyway, on to the content, which is far more rebukable.
Kos is referring to an ABC News story about Italy’s tentative plans to withdraw 10% of its troops (300 of its original commitment of 3,000) in September, subject to security conditions at that time.
Italian Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli characterized the proposed partial military withdrawal as a matter on which to begin discussion, and noted it would commence "perhaps by September.” Calderoli went on to explain that the move would be part of an effort to allocate more of its finite resources to Italy’s own homeland security initiatives.
That’s quitting Iraq?
Kos pauses to ponder:
How much safer would the United States be if we had spent $200 billion+
to secure our ports and border, instead of creating new terrorists in
For guidance, he looks to Arianna Huffington, who makes a rather bizarre claim:
No one can seriously argue that if the U.S. and Britain had spent the
last 46 months — and over $200 billion — focusing on Al Qaeda rather
than Iraq these attacks would not have happened. But we can say without a doubt that spending that time and money in Iraq did not prevent them.
Well, I guess that’s hard to argue with. Indeed, the time and money spent in Iraq did not prevent these attacks, which did in fact take place.
Similarly, no one can seriously argue that if I hadn’t spent 10 minutes — and over $7 — eating that delicious meatball hero for dinner on Tuesday, these attacks would not have happened. But we can say without a doubt that spending that time and money at the pizzeria did not prevent them.
Huffington pulls off a nice little inverted post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Fine work.
The logical distinction between our arguments? None. So why does mine seem (slightly) more asinine? Because I’m not winkingly making that argument which "no one can seriously argue;” Huff and Kos are.
Unless she means us to take her argument for one as pointless as my corollary, she must be suggesting that the multi-national military campaign in Iraq (most notably the efforts of the U.S. and Great Britain) are at least partly responsible for Thursday’s mass murder.
Unpalatable on so many levels, this suggestion, in turn, of course relies on the premise that the liberation of Iraq and the continued zealous pursuit of Al Qaeda were mutually exclusive, an idea that strikes me as the kind of "absurd … either/or logic" she decries in the very same post.
As to Kos and his hand-wringing conclusion that our allies are "abandoning us one by one" (that one’s called hasty generalization), I predict the pessimism and inevitability of defeat he’s peddling will shortly be shown for the bogus hokum it is, as the civilized world is further galvanized by this week’s hideous barbarism and freedom-loving nations around the world redouble their efforts in the fight against those who would do us harm.
Cross-posted at Suitably Flip.