Monday, June 13, 2005

Occam's Razor and the Downing Street Memo

Dean Esmay lets the Downing Street Memo conspiracy theorists have it over at Dean's World. He concludes:

Simply apply Occam's Razor here. Which is more likely?

1) Hundreds of intelligence agents and officials and politicians at all levels of the US and British government conspired to forge and falsify intelligence documents in order to justify a case against going to Iraq, and this mid-level guy casually revealed the whole thing in a passing reference in an open, unclassified memo, or,

2) Evidence was being gathered and put into place in support of a proposed policy.

Dean is well-known for his support of the war in Iraq, but he is also considered one of the blogosphere's most fiercely independent thinkers and doesn't tow anyone's line.

He makes an excellent point.

5 Comments:

At 10:01 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

Thanks Alan...
That was a good read at Dean's...
My first time over there.

 
At 10:57 PM, Blogger Jonathan C said...

While I fully agree that the "Bush lied, people died" revelers are patently tilting at windmills, I think it would be a mistake to simply write off the infamous memo as sheer fabrication and fallacy.

What I see is proof of sloppy work. Here's what I have to say on the subject.

Thanks for pointing this out, Alan!

 
At 8:45 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Jonathan,

Yeah, Dean goes overboard in his condemnation of those who've run with the DSM. But that's his schtick and he does it so well.

 
At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Andrew said...

Dean's Razor is blunt. The question should read:

Simply apply Occam's Razor here. Which is more likely?

1) A handful of officials and politicians at the highest levels of the US and British government conspired to make the best possible case out of admittedly 'thin' intelligence documents in order to justify a case for going into Iraq, and this mid-level guy with the highest level of security clearance then revealed the whole thing in a considered reference in a restricted circulation, classified memo because it was true, or,

2) Purely circumstantial and in some cases, false, evidence was being gathered and put into place in support of a proposed policy supporting a neo-con agenda against the Iraqi regime.

 
At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Stephen Curtice said...

I have always thought that there were two scandalous propositions in the Downing Street Memo, both of which really just confirm what we already knew: (1) facts were being used (whether falsely, deceptively or just misleadingly) to justify an invasion, rather than determine whether invasion is a good idea, and (2) Bush had already made up his mind at the time the meeting occurred that we were invading. Everyone focuses on the first; the second, when compared to what Bush was saying to America (and the world) AFTER the memo is dated is just as offensive, at least to me. There was a blog, which I wish I could still find, that compiled 10-15 examples of Bush publicly declaring, in no uncertain terms, that invasion was not inevitable or was at least avoidable if certain steps were taken. The Downing Street Memo shows (if credible) that Bush was lying when he made those subsequent claims.

 

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