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March 25, 2003

My roommate has a friend named Jason Steorts who is a senior at Harvard, but happens to be apart from the many anti-war peaceniks there. He wrote an article for the National Review about the lack of logic of the anti-war movement, and it was apparently read on the air by Rush Limbaugh. I must say that I agree with his views. While I respect the opinions of others, I also insist they have some logical backing for their argument, something that shouldn't be too hard. It doesn't even have to be a completely failsafe reason, but at least a logical one. However, from my perusings of the anti-war movement, it is increasingly rare to find a decent argument, making the opinion that naivety is rampant in their movement more probable. In the anti-war movement I often see people holding anti-abortion signs, or such foolish banners as "Stop the war. End racism." I'm sure they can come up with a decent argument, so why aren't I hearing it?

Posted by charr at 8:36 AM
Reader Comments

Perhaps because you're too busy reading the Economist and listening to Rush Limbaugh? Those particular sources are not exactly unbiased.Rest assured that, although your arguments seem perfectly sound and logical to you, they fit within a different worldview than the arguments and logic of the anti-war folks. Their arguments and logic are perfectly sound to them, and yours look totally unreasonable. It all depends on your value system and starting premises. And despite what we'd like to think, logic does not apply directly to the real world.My point is this: Just because you don't agree with the arguments of the opposing point of view--just because their logic doesn't work in your worldview--doesn't necessarily mean they're naive or stupid. If the world was really that cut-and-dry, there wouldn't be any philosophers, different religions, or varied political parties.

Posted by Levi at March 25, 2003 9:51 AM

Thanks for the link. That was an interesting read.

Posted by dan at March 25, 2003 9:54 AM

Levi, I have no qualms about saying I'm conservative, and (while I don't listen to him) I realize Rush Limbaugh is very conservative and that the Economist tends to be a bit on the conservative side (which, of course, I see as generally being correct). I also read the New York Times (easily on the liberal side) and Time, another typically liberal magazine. You state your point that they have their logic, but that doesn't at all answer my inquiry as to what their logic is. I've read lots of views and I don't see any logic. And yes, I believe logic does exist in the world. I know things aren't cut and dry, but that certainly does not mean there's no logic. To say "I want peace" may be a nice emotional sentiment, but is completely devoid of any logical argument. To link war and abortion or racism is likewise absent of logic. Logic is universal -- not a conservative or liberal notion. Show me a logical argument and I will respect it. Until then, credibility is reduced.

Posted by Cameron at March 25, 2003 10:23 AM

Here's a compilation of arguments against the war that are not quite as loony as the ones from the protestors at Harvard: Anti-War Interviews from The GuardianHere's a pretty detailed analysis of the US/Iraq problem and a proposed non-war solution: Understanding the U.S.-Iraq Crisis: A PrimerNot that I necessarily agree with these, but they do present a much more sane opposition to the war. I'm only posting them out to make the point that not all anti-war people are irrational nutcases. I'm sure you can find both pro- and anti-war irrational nutcases, they're everywhere.

Posted by Levi at March 25, 2003 12:15 PM

Aha, that is what I mean. Those are arguments that have some logical backing. The premise may be false (but to what extent is uncertain to most), but it is a logical argument: Attacking Iraq will cause anger among muslims. More anger will result in more terrorism. Therefore, attacking Iraq will result in more terrorism. It is valid argument, even though it isn't necessarily true.

Posted by Cameron at March 25, 2003 2:54 PM

There are actually a lot of such arguments out there, they just don't get a lot of play in the regular media outlets. I think there are a lot of intelligent, well-reasoned arguments on both sides of the issue. The problem with logic is that the usefulness of the conclusion depends on the fundamental assumptions. A logical argument will not always lead you to a correct solution.Here's a summary of a few other anti-war arguments I've heard:Iraq is not and was not a direct threat; therefore a preemptive attack is morally wrong. War can only be justified by an immediate threat to our nation or an ally.The attack on Iraq is illegal according to international law. By flouting the same set of laws we use to condemn Iraq, we are being very hypocritical.The war, along with UN sanctions and restrictions against Iraq, is misguided and doing more harm than good in a humanitarian sense. Iraq should be allowed to remain a soverign nation and the current regime should be given a real encouragement to completely disarm rather than the current damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.That's just off the top of my head, I'm sure there are more. As to why they're not receiving more press, I can't say. I haven't been following regular media outlets, but I've been exposed to just as many anti-war arguments as pro-war ones from my online news sources.

Posted by Levi at March 25, 2003 9:50 PM

I've heard all those arguments before, but I agree that often the press (which is usually liberal) doesn't always pick them up. My opinion on this is that protesters often get caught up in the moment and don't have a specific argument.Plus, there are always the pro-Bush arguments such as:It's a legal war because Resolution 1441 passed unanimously, and Saddam failed to meet it.Saddam is killing and torturing his own people and the humanitarian and just thing to do is remove him from power. With that, I think the limited, innocent loss of life (while definately wished to be a minimum) is worth the loss for the bettering of the whole.Saddam has been given 12 years to disarm, has repeatedly ignored the many resolutions, is now only delaying, and based on this record, will never disarm, so we must do it for him.Saddam poses a threat to the security of the U.S. (this is one posed by Bush that I don't really buy), and therefore he must be taken from power.

Posted by Cameron at March 26, 2003 8:10 AM

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