Tuesday, October 05, 2004

They Said You Wuz High Class?

Kevin Drum indulges a blatant ad ignorantum fallacy:

Yesterday, Donald Rumsfeld admitted that Saddam Hussein never had any strong ties to al-Qaeda. "To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two," he said.

Colloquially: The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence The above two sentences are not equal to one another. This error in basic reasoning is particularly common in those who have an emotional need to disbelieve.

Kevin is actually committing a double fallacy; 1. That Rumsfeld has never seen such evidence does not mean such evidence does not exist, and 2. Even if such evidence does not exist--and we can never really know that--it doesn't mean there is no connection.

This is not an episode of Law and Order, where the prosecutor gets his strongest evidence thrown out by the judge because the policemen didn't sufficientlyMirandize the perp. We need to err on the side of prudence.

Saddam Hussein had good reasons to want American troops out of Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden said, on videotape, he attacked America because of the presence of those same troops. Saddam had plenty of cash to throw at anyone who could help him, and Osama needed plenty of cash to maintain his following and fund their activities.

Further, when things were going sour for Osama in Sudan, Saddam sent an emmissary to him and invited him to relocate to Iraq. He turned that offer down for what he thought would be better; Afghanistan. But members of Al Qaeda indisputable were in Iraq in the 90s and early 2000s. Including the man who made the bomb for the 1993 WTC attack.

Motives, means, and opportunities. All existed. It's elementary, Sherlock.

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