Thursday, August 27, 2009

Syllogism, Faulty or Not

I'm sure you remember the classic example of faulty syllogism. A occurs before B, therefore A is causative of B. The rooster crows and the sun comes up, therefore the rooster was the cause of the sun rising. Absurd on its face, of course. It is alarm clocks that cause sun rises and car-washing that causes rain storms.

Yesterday I heard Obama apologist Juan Williams defend Eric Holder's proposal to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and "bring to justice" those CIA operatives who operated under federal guidelines and in good faith during enhanced interrogations.

The comment of Mr. Williams revolved around acceptance of the fact in the CIA reports that recipients of these enhanced interrogations provided additional, actionable intelligence after the procedures. The faulty syllogism argument was applied. Yes, Juan recited, they gave up critical information after enhanced interrogation, but we can't be certain that was the reason! It might have been something else, like maybe the offer of a light lunch and some tea after the questioning.

Here is a detailed analysis of the EIT results and a very effective dismantling of the syllogism argument:

Waterboard Me Again and I'll Talk!

I've been through resistance training. All combat eligible aircrews get trained. You learn many techniques, but the one thing you are told which you already knew is that everyone breaks eventually. You will give up information at some point. You want to forestall that point. You hope that you can minimize what you disclose. You learn to negotiate with bits and pieces that you know aren't valuable. You are trained to be creative in story-telling. You learn to resist. And when you break, you learn that you start over again with the resistance as soon as you can.

We know conclusively that one area in which these top level terrorists are very well trained is resistance to interrogation. They are drilled in our techniques and study our laws and restrictions. The more they know about our limits, the better they can exploit them against us.

We are now in the process of writing a revised training manual for al-Qaeda operative resistance education. We are explaining in detail the extent of our effort to question them and the broad range of rights which we will extend to them. They will know us better than we know ourselves. I hope Holder and the Messiah feel good about that.

And, along the way, we listen to Juan Williams throwing away innuendo about our techniques like "pulling out fingernails" as though that was what was under discussion. Fox News issued an apology for that gratuitous lie, but Williams is still the illogical liberal on their otherwise instructive discussion panels.

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