Volume > Issue > Note List > Mudslinging


The Editor of Crisis magazine, Brian Saint-Paul, calls for an end to “political mudslinging” and “political vitriol” (Crisis, June 2006). In his major beef to political mudslinging, he objects to this: “George W. Bush misled the country into a war [in Iraq] for the benefit of his oil industry buddies…,” and that Bush “would sacrifice the military and endanger the country to enrich his cronies….” Saint-Paul says, “Let’s no longer hear, ‘No blood for oil,’ or similar nonsense.” He says that all of these are “ad hominem attacks,” “poisoning the well,” “straw-man arguments,” “attacking reputations,” “mudslinging,” and “vitriol.”

As an antidote to this “mudslinging,” Saint-Paul says that this is “good reason why logic and rhetoric should be required courses in every high school.”

Regarding that Bush “would sacrifice the military and endanger the country to enrich his cronies,” Bush thought the invasion of Iraq would be a “slam-dunk,” a “cakewalk,” and that the Iraqis would greet us with rose petals. He said, “Bring it on!” He declared, “Mission Accomplished” on May 1, 2003. Bush had no idea that would endanger the country and especially the military. Ah, but most of the military brass knew that, but they were ignored or marginalized. Also, Bush didn’t figure that the insurgents would attack the pipelines and refineries.

That Bush went to war for the oil industry is, in our opinion, inconclusive. But that is a legitimate position to hold, and it is not mudslinging. Many anti-war people and pro-war people think it was about oil. A letter writer in the NOR (Jan. 2006) who supports the war in Iraq, said, “So what if this war is about blood for oil?… If one were to cut off Mideast oil from the rest of the world, it would be more than catastrophic, it would be a major disaster for the West.” Another letter writer in the NOR (April 2005) who supports the war, and who has a son on active duty in the Army, said, “The major reason [for this war] was to stabilize a country with a large reserve of crude oil and install a pro-Western government….” This is not mudslinging, for they support the war.

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