I had some fun earlier this week with a rhetorical comparison between Harry Truman and George W. Bush. The connections are obvious between these two men, arguably the most under-rated Democrat and Republican Presidents in History, and in my opinion, both were exactly the men our nation needed most when they served as President.
But not everyone can handle such a comparison, even to rebut it. A (presumably) leftist blogger who posts under the name ‘Dean Wormer’ – if he ever saw ‘Animal House’, I wonder if he understands the irony – could not manage to address the point, or even come up with something to counter it, but has instead delivered a disappointingly puerile screed against me.
The link is right there for those inclined to visit, but essentially here are the points he presents, and my opinion:
“It's difficult to come up with a word that succinctly describes this silly bit of wingnut dead-ender logic.”
It seems pro forma for leftists these days to always begin with an insult, doesn’t it?
“He's basically taken the original opinion piece by Joan Vennochi and inserted Harry Truman's name wherever George Bush appeared in the original. Hey, nobody ever accused conservatives of originality.”
Hmm, this from a fellow who could not even come up with something of his own to counter? Besides, I included Harry Truman’s own words, which was a big part of the message. Maybe Dean Wormer missed that part?
” It's one thing to formulate an analogy only to have it collapse under the weight of it's own internal logic. It's quite another thing entirely to stick with that analogy after said collapse.”
Straight from the Al-Gore/John-Kerry school of argument, Wormer claims victory without once actually doing anything to support his contention. Wormer begins with the presumption that the analogy is invalid, so he never bothers to refute it on its merits.
Wormer does display the signals of the 9/10 mind, of course, saying ” the current conflict against fundamentalist extremists is nowhere near the scale, nor poses nowhere near the threat, as the conflict against global tyranny that was the Second World War.” Again, note that Wormer does not bother to present any sort of argument to support that claim, except to say that ” Our enemy has no standing army. No navy. No air force.”. Well, since Al Qaeda had none of those things, yet pulled off the 9/11 attacks, I’d have to say Wormer has missed the character of the threat. Further, since Islamofascism has led to the radical change and threatening doctrines in a number of Middle East and Muslim nations – Afghanistan and Iran, for example – and proxy support for terrorist operations created a financial and political infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and in Saddam’s Iraq, that the threat to U.S. interests and directly to Americans’ safety is obvious. 9/11 was hardly an isolated incident, nor one brought about by American culture or policies. It was, instead, a climax of a series of attacks which included embassy bombings, hostage and kidnapping situations, blackmail and extortion of elected governments in the Middle East, and a continuing campaign to eradicate all Western influence and interests from the region by force and the threat of atrocities deliberately perpetrated using much the same tactics as Hitler used during the mid-to-late 1930s. Those who fail to comprehend this fact should start their remedial studies here.
Unable to present support for his contention, Wormer settled for personal attacks against me. Wormer, although he types his opinion in very much the same conditions as I do, derides me for presenting my argument ” from the safety of a keyboard a half a world away”. Wormer feels that I have no right to speak on this issue unless I am ” in uniform patrolling the streets of Baghdad”. Since Wormer clearly appears to not be following this course of action himself, it seems to me a bit disingenuous to demand it of his opponent in this issue.
I could not resist the urge to respond to Wormer’s taunts. I answered as follows:
"A few comments, to clarify:
1. Yes, I am technically a "grad student". But I am also 46 years old, and in far from the physical condition necessary to engage in combat operations. I happen to be, however, in regular contact with people who have fought and are fighting this war, and much of my perspective has been shaped by the men who have carried out the orders. That said, it is a classic and ludicrous fallacy to suggest that someone cannot understand war without direct and personal participation in it. I suspect that you supported President Clinton in his various directions to the military, as I did. If so, your claim here would prove you an hypocrite, while I respected his election as his qualification to issue such orders. And the United States has long emphasized the supremacy of civilian command, or have you forgotten why it is, that President Truman fired General MacArthur?
2. I further note that your rebuttal completely missed any attempt to address the historical similarities between the post-WW2 occupations of Germany and Japan and the present conflict. It seems perhaps to be beyond your grasp to address the underlying forces at work in both instances, or to accept a valid comparison even if you disagree with the opinion.
3. Sneering derision and personal insults from your homepage hardly advance the debate. Is this the limit of your intellectual prowess?
You could have approached this from any number of avenues. You could have emailed me about my perspective, asking on what basis it was formed and to what degree. You could have elevated the discussion by examining the similarities and differences between Europe 1946 and the Middle East 2006, with thoughts on the various strategies and agreements fashioned to shape the growth and development of the respective nations concerned. You could have begun a reasoned debate as has occurred throughout History on numerous issues of the moment, presenting your arguments and supporting them with evidence and allowing for a measured and civil response. Yet you chose this fashion and character of response.
Unfortunate, that. As a courtesy, I will note that just in case you decide – as happens so often these days in leftist blogs – to simply delete my comment rather than face it, I am cross-posting this over at my personal blog, Stolen Thunder. You are quite welcome to post your comments there, though I warn you in advance that my readers do not countenance childish tantrums; they will expect something more substantial. But a mature debate on this issue would be worthwhile, should you prove equal to the challenge. I await your response."
I wonder what, if any, Wormer’s answer will be?
UPDATE: Well, I have my answer. Less than 10 minutes after posting my comment and challenge to a debate on the facts, Wormer has deleted the comment. Running away rather than debate the substance, how like a DEMOCRAT, isn't it?
UPDATE II 8/29/06: Shame works! Two days after deleting my comment, Dean Wormer has relented and posted it after all. No response on the level of a cogent comment or substantive debate, but one cannot ask too much, I suppose. After all, there are no Democrats in Washington pressing for a debate on the facts, now are there?