Bush’s Pathetic Use of Pathos

June 28th, 2005

I wrote a letter to the editor and sent it off to USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, and The Metro using moveon.org’s PAC Letter to the Editor tool. I dont’ count on it getting published, mostly due to its length. Though I tried to trim it down a bit, this thing runs 388 words, far too long compared to most letters to the editor that I’ve seen published. Oh well; this is my first letter to any editors of print publications. I’m sure I’ll get better at crafting a more attractive letter in the future. Here we go…

Bush’s Poor Thinking

President Bush’s latest speech (delivered on 6/28. 8:00pm E.T.) further shows his poor understanding of how to defend an idea. Of course, this is because his idea in this case is just another one that is indefensible.

Bush suggests that the situation in Iraq is getting better. In fact, it’s not. On the Iraq Coalition Casualties Web site (http://icasualties.org/oif/), we find that in June of 2004, 42 Americans died. In June of 2005, 77 Americans died and, sadly, the month isn’t over. Rumsfeld has suggested that insurgency forces may have another decade or more worth of fighting left in them. For Bush to say that “we’ve made significant progress” is to suggest that there is no direct relationship between death rates and a successful Iraqi campaign.

Instead of a detailed exit strategy, Bush offered a vague policy of continued involvement until the mission is complete; we’re finished when we’re finished, despite a lack of criteria to show completion. With an increasing amount of American and coalition forces dying in Iraq, there’s no plan to leave. This is a horrible message to this nation’s military, people who have signed up to give their lives for this country and ask that they only be used when they are truly needed, not for something frivolous or unplanned.

Furthermore, for Bush to call on September 11th three times within the first 5 minutes of his speech — an event that has absolutely no connection to US involvement in Iraq, regardless of this administration’s best attempt to build such a connection as support for this war — is a transparent attempt to appeal to the public’s emotional connection to that event. Its point is as good as, “You don’t want 9/11 to happen again, do you? Of course not; no one does. Then we should stay in Iraq!” The trouble is that 9/11 has no relevance to this situation.

Appealing to emotions, with no logical connection to the subject, in order to drum up support is disgusting, is shameful, and shows a stubborn resolve to refuse admitting a mistake. Emotion does not take the place of missing evidence. Going to war over emotional reasoning is in no one’s best interest. Staying involved over such emotional reasoning isn’t, either. Even worse is staying involved over emotional reasoning about something unrelated to the present situation.

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