Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Logic Of Obama's Incapacity To Lead

"President Obama has confirmed the suspicion that his decision to ask Congress for authorization before using force in Syria was a political ploy. 'I'll repeat something that I said in Sweden,' he said this morning (U.S. time) at a press conference in St. Petersburg, Russia. 'I did not put this before Congress, you know, just as a political ploy or as symbolism.'... 'Just' is the tell."

(WSJ) We hadn't noticed his saying that at Wednesday's Stockholm press conference, where his brazenly false assertion that "I didn't set a red line" got most of the attention. We went back and checked the transcript, and it turns out he said something similar, but he didn't use the phrase "political ploy": "And I would not have taken this before Congress just as a symbolic gesture. I think it's very important that Congress say that we mean what we say."

To "say that we mean what we say" is to beg the question--and yes, we mean that in the rigorous logical sense of engaging in circular reasoning. A says something. B asks A if he means what he says; A says yes. B asks A if he means what he says when he says he means what he says; A says yes again. B asks A if he means what he says when he says he means what he says when he says he means what he says; A says yes again. B asks A . . . (Meanwhile, Bashar Assad is repositioning his military assets and preparing for a counterattack in case A and B ever get tired of this nonsense and decide to do something.)

If A meant what he said in the first place, his repeated assertions to that effect are redundant. If he didn't, they're redundant too, as the insincerity of the original statement carries over to the assurances that he meant what he said. Thus the statement "we mean what we say" is entirely superfluous as a matter of logic.

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Posted By: Chris Carmouche