The knowable knowns…

Here’s an interesting article on the recent poll – much ridiculed on the left – indicating that 70% of the U.S. public thinks there was some link between 9/11 and Iraq.
Okay, well, it’s not interesting. But the interesting thing is the difference between “proof”, and “evidence” – a difference that lawyers and 70% of the American public apparently understand.
Here’s the scoop: proof means that you know it’s true. It’s testable, it works forward and backward, there’s no other explanation, you are morally certain it is so. For example, if you walk into small, otherwise sealed room, and find O.J. Simpson standing over the bodies of a good looking blond woman with her throat slit, and an equally good looking sorta femmy-boy toy with his throat slit, and O.J. has a knife in his hands… well, unless you are the LAPD, you have proof that O.J. did it.

Evidence on the other hand is any fact that makes it more likely, or less likely, that a certain version of the events occurred. For example, you find the above mentioned bodies, shoe prints from O.J.’s Bruno Magli shoes, a blood covered knife with O.J.’s fingerprints, and a note, “I kilt da bee-otch” — well, then you have a pile of evidence, but it probably falls short of proof for some folks.
Let’s recap the Saddam/9-11 evidence really quickly.
There was a terrorist training camp at Salam Pak in Northeastern Iraq, where Al Qaida trained. Interestingly enough, it contained commercial jet fuselage mockups. Hmmmm… I wonder why.
A U.S. Circuit Court Judge from the 6th Circuit, now in Iraq to build a judicial system, wrote back to his hometown paper commenting on how he was skeptical about the Saddam/Al Qaida link, until he got a copy of Saddam’s rolodex of inner circle members. Turns out, a reasonably high ranking Iraqi intel member was assigned to the Iraqi consulate in Pakistan as a full time liaison officer to Al Qaida. The next week, the Circuit Court Judge wrote again, saying some men from Uncle (Sam) had confiscated the rolodex…
Al Qaida members were coming to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi intelligence officials.
Laurie Mylroie has documented Iraqi intel contacts with the circle of chaps responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, and for the first World Trade Center bombing. She has also documented which high level FBI officials believe this theory is correct.
The anthrax used in the poisoned letters of Fall, 2001, contained a form of weaponized anthrax that was of much higher quality than anything previously produced by the U.S., or the Soviets. It’s not the kind of thing some half-assed mediocrity of a biologist would whip up in his garage.
Finally, the events post Spring 2003 have shown that Al Qaida is more than happy to coordinate operations with the secular Iraqis they supposedly loathed just a few months ago. So it’s not unthinkable.
Well, there you have some evidence. It’s not stone cold proof of Iraq Al Qaida ties, but it is some evidence of it.
Oh yeah, and one other thing.
The middle east is fucking broken. It is falling apart, a non-functional excuse for a culture. If middle eastern culture was a person, it couldn’t find its ass with its hands. The same culture that produces secular tyrants like the Sauds and Saddam produces religious would-be tyrants like bin Laden, and actual tyrants like Iran’s mullahs. They are sworn to destroy all Jews, sworn to destroy all westerners, and just last week Al Qaida announced that it is sworn to destroy tolerant western secular democracy.
Yep, the broken culture produces people who hate our guts, or who hate us because they are left with no other choice in life. That broken culture cause 9/11, and Iraq and Al Qaida are but two symptoms of the brokenness. That’s the real connection to 9/11.
And you know what? Seventy percent of Americans get it, even if the New York Times just can’t see it. And just ‘cuz the Times can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not true, no matter what the intelligentsia thinks. Like the evidence example – the Bruno Magli shoe print, the bloody knife, the note, the bodies – a lot of people have seen enough of the evidence to conclude it is proof. And if they haven’t gone that far, they’ve at least concluded that there is enough evidence to warrant some U.S. action.
This begs the question – what would it take to convince the left that the middle east poses an ongoing threat that cannot be deterred, contained, or defused? Something tells me that even definitive proof would not be proof enough…



  1. Mithras

    Al –
    Your rationalization of the gullability of the American public aside, you might want to re-think using phrases like “I kilt da bee-otch” in connection with the conjenctured speech of African-Americans. It makes you look like a racist, which, combined with your main argument making you look like an idiot, is not desirable.
    Just a hint.

  2. Al Maviva

    Let’s change that OJ Simpson reference then Mithras. My employment of patois quite frequently associated with African Americans, to describe an act in which Mr. Orenthal James Simpson may or may not have been involved, could be interpreted as racist. After all, we know it’s unfair stereotyping to assume that Mr. Simpson may have acted, spoken, or written as a street thug (who happens to be African American) might have done. (His early history as a gang-member and street thug who happened to be African American notwithstanding).
    I apologize to my dear readers, and to African Americans in general, if I have offended by associating patois with a well known African American figure. Since I think the patois is highly entertaining, as are most dialects of English, I wish to keep it – but I’d rather not offend others on the basis of race. Nor do I want to get rid of this hypothetical illustrating the difference between evidence, and proof. So I’ll change the race of the killer in said hypothetical. Forthwith, let’s just suppose that somebody else killed their ex-wife, and their ex-wife’s slightly effeminate male friend.
    Not plausible, you say Mithras? Patois is ineluctably linked to and insulting to African Americans? Well, let’s try it first.
    For each time “O.J. Simpson” appears in the note above, substitute the term, “Eminem.” Or if that doesn’t work, substitute “Canadian Rapper Snow.” Or you could use “Crossover pop/rap star/diva Pink.” Or you could even use “Vanilla Ice.” Or if that doesn’t get it for ya, you could run with “Beastie Boys star Adam Yauch.” Of course we could get into the debate about whether White rappers have somehow wrongfully appropriated Black culture – but I’ll leave you to call me a racist another day on that argument.
    And besides, I thought picking on O.J. was fair game. After all, as Chris Rock has sagely pointed out, brotha wasn’t black until he got in trouble… Rock’s words, not mine.
    It’s also interesting that you say my argument about the difference between evidence and proof is without merit. Interesting, because I am now wondering if you are indeed a subtly wise man in the ways of formal logic, and I have just missed something.
    You see, the reason the O.J. hypothetical came to mind, is because I thought his two homicide cases nicely illustrated the difference between evidence, and proof.
    A criminal jury, seeking proof beyond a reasonable doubt that O.J. was the murderer, found insufficient evidence to so find. Or in other words, there was insufficient evidence to prove to a moral certainty that he committed the crime.
    Some months later, a civil jury found sufficient evidence to prove by preponderance of the evidence, that he had committed the murder. In an alternate formulation, the evidence proved it was more likely than not that he committed the homicides.
    Whether or not something is proved, depends on the standard of proof applied. The amount of evidence doesn’t have to vary a whit – for instance given the present facts, one might conclude that Iraq/Al Qaida ties aren’t proved to a moral certainty, but simultaneously that it’s more likely than not that there are ties.
    Bad argument, huh? Hmmm.
    Finally Mithras, I’m sorry if I’ve offended you or others with my horrid, racist use of street slang. From now on, I promise y’all that iffin’ ah resort ta slang, ah will stick ta cracka speak as is racially appropriate fer us mostly white folk (we can’t have no linguistical race mixin’ now, kin we?) and I won’t not use no big words or nothin’. What with White folk talk bein’ all appropriate to an linked with mah race, an’ all, Lord willin’ an’ the crick don’t rise.
    On the other hand, I could be true to my Noo Yawk roots and just say “No, f*** you!” But I won’t do that.

  3. Mithras

    My, that looks like it was fun to write.
    Still, your main point is gibberish. The reason that nearly 70% of the American public believes Saddam was involved in 9/11 is because George W. Bush and his minions have mentioned them together repeatedly. Meanwhile, the SCLM has declined to call them on it. It is not a case of reasonable doubt versus a preponderance of the evidence. It’s just a lie.

  4. Al Maviva

    That’s funny. A little earlier in the summer, Glenn Reynolds linked to a couple articles by a buddy of his, a Clinton appointee on the Sixth Circuit, who was on the judicial panel building a judiciary system in Iraq. The nice judge happened to get hold of Saddam’s rolodex – which listed Iraqi military intelligence officers who were dedicated liaison to Al Qaida. And by dedicated, I don’t mean devoted, I mean it was their day-to-day job.
    Some nice men from Christians in Action (you figure it out) took the rolodex from him after the articles were published, and asked him not to speak of it again.
    All I can say, is if I was you, I’d get ready for a bitter, bitter, October, 2004 surprise.
    And like I said, my main point was that the Iraq / Al Qaida link was proved to a moral certainty. Just that reasonable people could look at the evidence, and believe it was more likely than not.