The cop-out position frequently observed in student writing goes something like this: “there are good arguments on both sides, so in the end, who is to say. . .”. But the only time in the history of philosophy where there were good arguments on both sides was the medieval debate about the eternity of the world. The Philosopher and many of his followers held by reason that it was eternal; Scripture teaches that it was created in time. Who is to judge?
Back here on earth, Fred Hiatt sees good arguments on both sides of a more mundane issue: who uses the troops as political props? He writes:
>The truth is, every side in the war debate uses the troops for political gain. When Bush tearfully presents the Medal of Honor to the family of a slain war hero the morning after announcing his latest strategy for Iraq, then flies off to Fort Benning, he is using the troops as props. Democrats didn’t make the absence of body armor a key campaign issue until they had done a lot of poll-testing.
Hiatt puts three activities in the same category: (1) a tearful Medal of Honor award ceremony; (2) speeches before captive audiences; (3) arguments in favor of body-armor for the troops who are really being shot at. Of these only the last has direct application to the reality of the welfare of the troops. And poll-tested or not, no soldier ought to be sent into battle with inadequate body-armor (when better is available). So, arguments about the welfare of the troops don’t belong in the same category as arguments in front of the troops (but not about them). In the first two cases they are props; in the third they are the subject of the debate. In all fairness, of course, no one would suggest that the awarding of the Medal of Honor was not genuine. It’s just a different matter from the current and future welfare of those in harm’s way. When things such as these don’t belong to the same category, you can’t compare them and claim that there are good arguments on both sides and so. . .
>[a]s to the germaneness of the president’s tears or Barbara Boxer’s outrage, Americans can form their own judgments. . .