Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Douglas J. Feith deserves our thanks for illustrating the ex post facto ergo propter hoc fallacy

Namely, assuming that what came was caused by what happened before.
This is a particularly blatant illustration of the fallacy because there is no good evidence that the toppled Ba'thist regime cooperated with al-Qaeda. Feith clings to his talisman of purported cooperation, which he then uses to claim a logical connection: post-invasion cooperation between some insurgents and al-Qaeda oriented jihadists logically flowed from cooperation (which did not exist) between the toppled regime and al-Qaeda.

Douglas J. Feith - Tough Questions We Were Right to Ask - "In evaluating our policy toward Iraq after Sept. 11, 2001, my office realized that CIA analysts were suppressing some of their information. They excluded reports conflicting with their favored theory: that the secular Iraqi Baathist regime would not cooperate with al-Qaeda jihadists. (We now face a strategic alliance of jihadists and former Baathists in Iraq.) Pentagon officials did not buy that theory, and in 2002 they gave a briefing that reflected their skepticism."

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