Thursday, July 5, 2007

Hypocrisy and Ad Hominem Tu Quoque

Members of the Bush Administration are accusing former President Bill Clinton of Hypocrisy for criticizing Bush's pardon (for all practical purposes) of "Scooter" Libby (Reuters: White House accuses Clintons of hypocrisy in Libby case

This sets up a huge red herring where the Bush Administration can misdirect public attention from its own wrongs by pointing somewhere else. It is the magician's trick of the slight of hand - getting people focused on the wrong target so that they do not actually notice the trick.

As a defense of Bush's actions, even if the accusation against Clinton is true, it would amount to an application of the fallacy ad hominem tu quoque. It would be like Hitler trying to declare his innocence by saying that Stalin (one of the allies) also killed millions of innocent people. However, Stalin's guilt does not prove Hitler's innocence.

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