Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Clifford D. May: Right Wing Propagandist

The Arizona Daily Star published an opinion column by Clifford D. May on the group Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change who signed a statement arguing that Bush has harmed American security and should be replaced. Many of these public servants are Republicans and served in Republican Administrations. The Right is rightfully panicked about the harm this could do Bush.

May's response was a weak, purely rhetorical, and highly misleading attempt to discredit the group. Here is the letter to the editor I sumbitted fisking the peice:

Clifford May’s June 20th opinion piece attempting to discredit the Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change (DMCC) is a rhetorical hatchet job lacking substance and intellectual honesty.

Mr. May claims the DMCC’s name is misleading because the majority of the signatories are career foreign service officers, and not military men. Military Commanders comes second in their name because four of the signatories are senior military officers; there is nothing misleading about it. His charge is an empty slur.

Mr. May claims the DMCC ‘seem furious that President Bush decided, following 9/11, to change U.S. policy.’ The DMCC’s critique is not that Bush has changed U.S. foreign policy priorities; it is that those changes abrogate international law and make America less secure. Mr. May, unable to address the real premise of DMCC’s criticism, just makes up his own and characterizes that premise as nothing more than sour grapes.

Mr. May implies that the public servants of the DMCC were responsible in some way for the decisions which led to the foreign policy failures he cites, but he does not demonstrate that any member of DMCC is actually responsible for the policies he derides. In fact, the members of DMCC might well have denounced the policies Mr. May criticizes. Mr. May is striking a straw man of his own creation, not the DMCC.

With a final attempt at misdirection, Mr. May actually calls the major policy failures of the last 20 years ‘their past efforts,’ with no proof or factual support whatever that the DMCC signatories were involved in any way.

Mr. May’s article is little more than a nakedly partisan defense of the President using spurious rhetorical devices in place of facts. It is propaganda, nothing more.

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