How Not To Make An Argument

The Rittenhouse Review
excoriates Michael Ledeen latest book
, then offers no explanations why:

Ledeen says that the debate over invading or attacking Iraq, such as it is, is misplaced and misguided. The über-hawk advocates not just one war but four wars, or more accurately, one gigantic, almost simultaneous war against Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, in that order. (Not Libya?)

Not surprisingly, Ledeen’s contribution to the national debate includes some of the most dubious propositions and questionable assertions currently in circulation, all presented with an arrogant certaintude that displays a complete disregard for history, politics, religion, and, indeed, humanity.

Then a few quotes from Ledeen’s latest piece, and nothing more.

Look, if you’re going to make an argument, tossing out some ad hominem attacks isn’t the way to do it. In fact, I’d love to see the Review, or any other leftists go on the record and say that a free and democratic Middle East is a bad thing. It would be great to hear them say that Iran should remain an oppresive theocracy rather than be allied with the US. If they’re going to start that line of reasoning, they should finish. Let’s get all the Left on the record as being anti-capitalism, anti-freedom, and anti-American. The American people deserve to see the real face of the Left.

Demosthenes thinks I’m off base on this one
. My response: if TRR honestly thinks that American involvement in the Middle East is worse than Hussein and the mullahs, they should come out and say it. If all they want to do is hint at it, that means that their argument could be anything from "America is evil" (which would be anti-American, etc…) to "it would be too problematic to do what Ledeen describes" (which would be a perfectly resonable argument.)

A rule I learned from years of doing debate: if you don’t frame your argument well enough, the opposition can and probably will frame it for you, and almost always in a way that’s negative to your case. That’s why I feel that TRR hasn’t made the case against Ledeen that they should.

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