Thursday, September 5, 2013

Syrian False Analogies

John Kerry having dinner with future Hitler Bashar Assad in 2009
With public opinion strongly opposed to a US intervention of any sort in Syria, government officials who back a US attack are turning to ever more strained analogies in an effort to drum up public and Congressional support. Coming as no surprise, Secretary of State John Kerry has gone ahead and invoked Godwin's law by comparing Syrian President Bashar Assad to Hitler, and has claimed that anything less than a military strike on Syria would be comparable to the 1938 Munich Agreement between Hitler and Chamberlain. As reported by Politico:
Secretary of State John Kerry told House Democrats that the United States faced a “Munich moment” in deciding whether to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.
In a 70-minute conference call on Monday afternoon, Kerry derided Syrian President Bashar Assad as a “two-bit dictator” who will “continue to act with impunity,” and he urged lawmakers to back President Barack Obama’s plan for “limited, narrow” strikes against the Assad regime, Democratic sources on the call said.
As noted by Scott Lemieux, this is clearly a False Analogy:
Here’s the thing: for this to be a “Munich moment,” Assad would have to, you know, have both the desire and capacity to conquer most of the region. Since in fact it’s far from obvious that Assad will even be able to maintain power in his own country — let alone have the ability to overrun the Middle East — Assad isn’t a new Hitler and whatever he does Obama won’t be Chamberlain. And in this particular case the analogy goes beyond stupidity to being self-refuting — if Assad poses a threat comparable to Hitler in 1938, why only “limited” “surgical” airstrikes? Really, let’s leave these dumb analogies to fourth-tier winger bloggers, please. 
I couldn't have put it better myself.

h/t to Atrios

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