Teach me how to think, please!

I have found something useful for philosophers to do!

Surprising news indeed, but take a look at this paragraph from Helen Salmon, student representative for the Stop the War Coalition.

This is not a war for the liberation of the people of Iraq. The US and Britain were happy to back Saddam’s tyrannical regime, his gassing of the Kurds and his war against Iran until he invaded Kuwait. Nor is this a war against weapons of mass destruction. No evidence of such weapons has been found in Iraq, and no war has been threatened against North Korea, despite its possession of nuclear weapons.

Never in the field of writing about human confict, have so many bad argumentative moves been made in so short a paragraph. Let’s count!

1. The fact that the US and Britain were willing to back Saddam has no necessary bearing on whether their combined action in Iraq is a war for the liberation of the people of Iraq (they may simply have realised the error of their ways, for example).

2. War against weapons of mass destruction. Oh dear. The problem here is that Ms Salmon’s logic compels her to the conclusion that whether there is such a thing depends on how good people are at hiding these weapons. Bad regimes, good at hiding – no war against weapons of mass destruction. Bad regimes, bad at hiding – the war’s on!

3. Terrible logic in the next bit about North Korea. Indeed, it’s Stangroomesque in its awfulness! No more to be said, really.*

So philosophers, the challenge for you, should you choose to accept it, is to teach this person to think. Scary, eh?!

*Yes, I know – that’s no kind of argument!

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