Saturday, August 26, 2006

Iran: deja vu: connecting the dots

There was an article in the NY Times by Mark Mazzetti entitled "Some in G.O.P. Say Iran Threat Is Played Down" which basically tells us that the Bush administration is up to the same tricks with Iran that they used to "justify" going after Iraq. The core problem is a methodology which is extremely popular within the Neocon crowd and the Pro-Israel Lobby called "connecting the dots", whereby one identifies some "dots" or vague, fragmentary, dubious pieces of evidence and then presumes that the dots are connected and then treats these presumed pseudo-connections as if they were incontrovertible facts. In short, such a methodology is a really, really, really bad idea, and this same administration has proved it so over the past several years with Iraq.

The lure of such a fallacious methodology is that it preys on emotions and demands that the respondent "prove" that the presumed dot could not possibly exist, which is always a fool's errand no matter what the argument.

The beauty of "connecting the dots" is that it enables one to persuade people of an argument even if the argument has no merit whatsoever and even if there is absolutely no solid evidence of any aspect of the argument.

It was very telling that Colin Powell fell it necessary to explicitly tell the United Nations Security Council that his dossier on Iraq WMD was fact and not "assertions". The truth is that he had to make such a disclaimer because the so-called "facts" really were a bunch of loose, vague, unconnected "dots" that only made a good "story" once an imaginative and inventive mind had creatively "connected" those dots. We know now that the story was false, but yet here and now after all that followed, people within the Bush administration are actively pursuing the same misguided storytelling technique with Iran. I feel sorry for Powell that he was treated so poorly and hoodwinked by those damned dot connectors.

It is high time that some of the sane people of the world stood up and answered a resounding "No" to this insanely misguided approach of "connecting the dots".

-- Jack Krupansky


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