I did a little too much driving yesterday and in the process listened to a little too much right-wing talk radio. This included Bill O’Reilly’s show as well as Rush Limbaugh. Later last night I saw O’Reilly on Letterman. I also listened to a slew of wannabees.
Curiously I stumbled upon a new common talking point. Everybody who was obviously connected to the White House (Limbaugh in particular since he appears to vehemently defend anything done by the government no matter how onerous) kept harping on one question always worded exactly the same way, “Do you want the US to win the war in Iraq?”
It may have slipped past me if O’Reilly hadn’t thrown it at Letterman numerous times getting him to say something. Letterman refused to give O’Reilly the requested yes or no.
Limbaugh in the morning kept badgering guests who were even a little critical of Bush and Iraq with this exact same question.
The idea behind this question is obvious. It’s a no-win question for the hapless critic who actually answers the question with a yes or no. If you say Yes, I want the US to win the war in Iraq then you have to let things continue to go the way they are going so the US can “finish the job.” (Finishing the job is another ditty commonly used to shut up the opposition.) If you say no you do not want the US to win the war in Iraq then you are obviously a terrorist or a bad person. I mean you simply cannot answer no.
It’s a trick question.
So I thought about how you address this question for real results. One correct answer is the following:
“The US has already won the war in Iraq. Saddam is in chains, his sons dead. The army is dissolved. We are now occupiers fighting a peace and losing because we simply overstayed our welcome. There is no war to win now. We won. Mission Accomplished.”
Then to turn the question around ask the questioner. “Did we not know we won? Is that why you ask this question? Let me ask you a question. Do you think we should remain as an occupation army in Iraq forever and essentially bankrupt our own nation? Yes or no?”
You can add salt to the wound by asking them “How do you define victory?” Isn’t deposing the entire government and military enough to call it a win? Are they supposed to be writing poetry about us saying and how great we are before we declare victory? Exactly who are we fighting now? Seems to me that just capturing the leader is a win if you ask me.
Any thoughtful person should be able to defuse the specious “Do you want the US to win the war in Iraq” question if they see it coming.
That should shut them up I’d think.