Guilt by Association
Guilt by Association is a class of fallacies in which a proposition
is considered invalid because of a circumstantial association with a disliked
person, group, other entitity, or concept. Alternatively, a proposition considered
to be negative is affirmed by such an association.
Form 1, invalidation of a proposition:
|Proposition A is associated with undesirable
|Proposition A (or an inference on A) is invalid
Form 2, validation of a subjectively negative proposition:
|Proposition A, such that A is subjectively
negative, is associated with undesirable entity B
|Proposition A (or an inference on A) is valid.
On February 11, 2003 Colin Powell testified to a Congressional hearing as
a spokesman for the Bush administration. He indicated that radio station
al-Jazeera would soon air an audio tape of Osama bin Laden siding with Iraq
and against the U.S. in the expected upcoming war. He stated that the tape
connected bin Laden with Iraq, implying that this is evidence of Iraqi support
for bin Laden. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said later "What the secretary has alluded to this morning
gives further proof of the concerns that we have about Iraq and al-Qaida linking
up." Another senior
administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that statements
on the tape prove existence of a "burgeoning alliance of terror" between
Saddam and bin Laden.
Examination of the translated text of the tape shows only that bin Laden
supports Iraq in resistance to the U.S. Bin Laden even classifies Iraq as
a pagan regime; as middle east experts have long noted, this stands in opposition
to bin Laden's religious zeal.
The Bush administration position is essentially this:
Predicate: Bin Laden supports Iraq in opposition
to the U.S.
Consider this direct analogy:
Therefore: There is an "alliance of terror" between
bin Laden and Iraq,
and this is a reason to make war on Iraq
I am a fan of the Sacramento Kings basketball team.
Therefore there is an alliance between me and the Sacramento Kings,
and the Kings should be held responsible for my actions.
For example, if I get a speeding ticket while driving across Kansas
the Kings are responsible and should be penalized for my speeding.