Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Logical Fallacy

CNN published an interview with "terrorism analyst" Peter Bergen, wherein Bergen answered viewers' questions about Osama bin Laden. The transcript is being circulated because Bergen disputed the idea that bin Laden ever worked for CIA, but I think there's a more interesting excerpt.
Q: I thought bin Laden was seriously ill with kidney problems. If so, how is he getting his medication and is he on dialysis in any form? — John Hatington, Stratford, Connecticut.

BERGEN: This is sort of wishful thinking. Bin Laden has got some chronic health problems, but none of them are life-threatening. He certainly doesn't have kidney disease, because he'd be dead by now if he did.

He's not going to die of natural causes anytime soon.
Do you see Bergen's logic? Bin Laden couldn't have kidney disease, because he'd be dead now — and since the United States insists he isn't dead, he must not have kidney disease.

OK. Let's pretend, for argument's sake, that I'm wrong and Osama bin Laden is alive. We know he had access to video equipment; and if he was worried about betraying his location, masking your terrain on video is as simple as standing with your back against a nondescript rock. So please explain why, after years of proudly facing into a camera lens to threaten the infidels, bin Laden has spoken only via scratchy audio recordings since 9/11.