Condi’s World: Fantasies and Post Hoc Fallacies

condi riceCondoleeza Rice, George W. Bush’s former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, has a disturbing habit of engaging in fantasy.  For example, her unsubstantiated assertion of Iraq’s nuclear capability, culminating in her famous remark that “we don’t want the smoking gun to be amushroom cloud.”  Of course, there was neither a smoking gun nor a mushroom cloud.

Then there was her embarrassing Freudian slip in which she appeared to refer to Bush as her husband.  Uh, no comment.

And now, in touting her memoir, Rice has the temerity to take credit for the Arab Spring, writing that it vindicates the Bush Administration’s policies, including the invasion of Iraq.  More fantasy and a classic example of the Post Hoc Fallacy.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc or “after this, therefore because of this” is a logical fallacy in which one erroneously attributes cause and effect simply because one event occurs before the other.  Put differently, it is a fallacy to conclude that A causes B merely because A occurs before B.

Now, there is clearly a cause and effect between Bush’s Iraq invasion and thousands of military and civilian deaths, a revitalized Taliban in Afghanistan, the spreading of Al Qaeda throughout the region, the strengthening of Iran, the tanking of the U.S. economy, and our disgraceful embrace of torture, extraordinary rendition, and other human rights violations.

But the Arab Spring?  Post hoc ergo …

Digby put it more colorfully:

the logic behind Rice’s view inexorably leads you to evaluate everyone in history through the lens of human progress — which means that none of the great villains can be held responsible for their deeds and nothing can ever be learned from bad decisions of the past. As long as the world goes on you can always make the case that things will probably turn out ok in the long run. And that’s hardly any comfort —as the old saying goes, in the long run, we’ll all be dead.

andy loveIn fact, in the short run a whole lot of Iraqi people are dead because of the United States’ inexplicable decision to invade their country. . .  If Iraq becomes a sane and prosperous nation some time from now, it will never render that policy, based on lies and propaganda, to be a good one — and Bush, Cheney and Rice will never get credit for any future progress because of it. They need accept that the best they can hope for is to end up among history’s inept clowns instead of history’s villains. It’s not much, but it’s all they’ve got.

So, despite their best efforts to rewrite history, will Bush, Cheney and Rice be viewed as villains or inept clowns?  The answer can be found in another philosophical proposition:  The Unity of Opposites.  They can be villains and clowns.

Andy Love
Fair and Unbalanced 


  1. Ray Bishop says

    Actually Bush and Cheney should be viewed as Criminals.
    People should be given the credit for the Arab Spring. As it has happened even in our own first revolution we had help from another government. In our case France.
    So why not give France some credit just as we might take some credit for whatever our Country has done to get rid of tyrants and dictators who were also known as the Power System.

    We need an American Spring to clean out our system. Unfortunately our Power System is the most powerful on earth and no other county would dare to jump in to help the people.
    We must do it ourselves by Public Protest and by the Elections. That is if we can keep them fair. If we have more interference with elections as we had in Florida and other states with a Supreme Court Fix on it we can only rely on the people to take a stand. Freedom and Justice is worth fighting for, hopefully the fight for the minds of our people will prevail in truth and honesty and help to build equality in what used to be thought of as the Land of Opportunity -For All.

  2. says

    Why would anyone want to take CREDIT for the results of the so-called Arab spring?
    Tunisia – ascendant Islamist regime
    Libya – ascendant Islamist regime
    Egypt – ascendant Moslem Brotherhood, Copts attacked in Islamist progroms, economy gets ever worse, worse than under Mubarrak.
    Syria – silent Obama administration allows Assad butchery, then lets new Turkish Islamist regime be prime supporter of dissidents, so as to produce eventual Islamist regime in Syria.
    Iran – spring came and went in 2009, repression now worse than ever, Obama content to be ‘witness’. As with Syria, only more so, Obama administration has kept thirsting for ‘engagement’ with the tyrants, uses ineffective ‘sanctions’ to signify token opposition to regime’s nukes (but not to regime’s repression)
    Iraq – now primed to be Iran puppet.

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