Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Time Machines and Dodge Ball

The puzzling letter to the editor from Mick Horan that was published in The Sun on November 21 turns out to have been intended as a response to a letter from Gary Minder ― published November 13 in The Sun.

Horan’s letter was discussed

Identifying the original letter was made possible by Horan
in his "blog".

Since Horan played dodge ball rather than rebut the original letter, our thanks go out to him for identifying the letter to which he thought he was responding.

Note that Minder’s letter referred to Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth allegations which were indisputably true: Senator Kerry falsely claimed that he and his swift boat went into Cambodia at Christmastime in 1968; Kerry met with the communist delegations in Paris and parroted their party line thereafter; and Kerry testified at a Senate committee hearing in 1971 ― portraying U.S. forces in Vietnam as war criminals.

Rather than rebut Minder, Horan dodged. He claimed that the allegations made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) had been discredited, and that only one member of SBVT had been on Kerry’s boat. The purported discrediting was done by left-leaning blogs and news media, but had little substance. The incidents during Kerry’s tour of duty in Vietnam were witnessed by several other people, making it irrelevant that only one enlisted man who had served on Kerry’s boat was a member of SBVT.

Horan seems not to have looked for the truth beyond brief visits to wrong-wing blogs. One of those he says discredited SBVT allegations made the false assertion that none of the SBVT members witnessed any of the questioned events. (See the “fact” following “false claim #2”
here.) There is a substantial difference between a valid effort to impeach the credibility of witnesses and a false statement that there were no witnesses. (If there are valid points made somewhere in rebuttal of the SBVT allegations, perhaps someone who doesn’t mind digging through the wrong-wing stuff can volunteer to cite them.)

It appears that Horan finished his letter to the editor with his imaginary description of Minder’s beliefs about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and links between Iraq and al Qaeda simply because Horan was playing dodge ball. Having dodged the points made by Minder, he thought it was part of the game to throw something at Minder ― and any old thing would do, whether based in fact or not.

Even with this new light on the subject, Horan’s puzzling apparent belief that there was no link between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda remains puzzling. Since Horan seems to know little or nothing about the factual basis for the SBVT allegations, he may also know little or nothing about the evidence which supported the decision to use force to disarm Iraq. He may well have honestly used “link” to mean “link,” if he was virtually ignorant about the evidence.


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