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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Prematurely Extrapolating Conservatives

The bitch-goddess technology is a cruel mistress; what she gives with one hand, she takes away with the other.

If you only read newspapers and websites that reflect your own views, you'll never get the big picture; if you don't have friends whose views are different from your own, you'll never learn tolerance or sharpen the acumen of your arguments. We have the technology to access countless news sources, and the ability to whittle down our choices to the level of our preferences and prejudices.

Today, as I was scanning blogdex, I found that the hot news article amongst conservative chat rooms is Putin's statement that he warned Bush about Iraq-Al Quaeda links following Sept. 11th. If this comment is taken at face value, the Republicans contend, then the democrats have no leg to stand on regarding Iraq.

I felt sad for them. There never was a clearer case of premature extrapolation. This tragic defect results when one draws conclusions based upon only reading the header of an article.

Like so many issues, the phrase "if this is taken at face value" is the operative phrase. A closer look would indicate that this story is a turkey. It's proof of nothing we did not know before, and provided no reliable information to sanction our preemptive attack.

Here are five reasons to dismiss the "premature extrapolations":

1. Putin qualified and clarified his statement:

In his interview yesterday, Putin said: "It is one thing to have information that Hussein's regime was preparing acts of terrorism -- we did have this information, and we handed it over. . . . But we did not have information that they were involved in any terrorist acts whatsoever and, after all, these are two different things."

2. Putin reiterated the point that he still felt the preemptive strive was unjustified.

3. A senior intelligence official seems to contradict Putin's account:

A senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday that Russia has provided helpful information in the war on terrorism, but that he was "not aware of any specific threat information we were told" about Iraqi activities before the March 2003 invasion.


4. Putin offered no evidence to support his claim:

Putin, who opposed Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq, did not go into detail about the information that was forwarded, and said Russia had no evidence that Hussein was involved in any attacks.
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5. Putin was the head of the KGB before the fall of Communism.

There you have it.

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