You are scheduled for a championship bout with Mike Tyson. But you’re too lazy to do the hard work of catching live chickens, punching sides of beef, and drinking raw eggs. Instead you find a hundred-pound weakling named “Mike Tyson” and you beat the daylights out of him.
But you haven’t beaten the real Mike Tyson. And that’s more or less the logic of the straw man argument. Such as the one Charles Krauthammer battles today.
Even a cursory reader of the news should know that many have advanced arguments against the war in Iraq; among these, the still perplexingly hawkish can only seem to focus on the weakest or the least representative of them (first Cindy Sheehan’s many and various “cluelessly idealist” pronouncements, now Brent Scowcroft’s “cynical realism”). First, neither of these represents the strongest or more reasonable anti-war positions made consistently in print and elsewhere since September 2001 (and before). Second, even these are consistently portrayed (as they are in today’s column) in the least favorable light (see previous posts here on Cindy Sheehan). And finally, the completely fallacious inference is perpetually drawn that their defeat implies the victory of neo-con position.
All wrong. The pages of the *Washington Post* ought to be reserved for prize-fighting, not pseudonymous sucker-punching.