SARS Attack!

That would be Stupid-Ass Republican Staffers, who are dishing out some amusing quotes while playing pattycake with the Dems on the cost of Bush’s Top Gun stunt. It’s pure politics, of course, but I found many of the quotes to be a textbook example of fallacious reasoning. (Quotes come from White House Defends Bush’s Jet Trip to Carrier, an NYT/CNN piece.)

Ok, let’s begin.

“The president wanted to go out somewhere to thank the men and women who made this possible in person,” White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters Wednesday. “They deserve nothing less. These are the men and women who fought a war to keep us free, to protect us and to save us.”

Translation: Who cares what it cost when it’s about the troops? The TROOPS, I tell you! And freedom! Yes, sweet freedom, like suckling at the warm bosom of Lady Liberty herself. Who’s got a question on freedom? Anybody?

The White House officials said the Navy recommended the jet as the safest mode of travel to the aircraft carrier because it offered the option to eject if the aircraft missed the deck on its approach for landing.

No, wait, I take it back. It’s about safety. Yes, safety — and not just the kind that our brave, true American soldiers brought us by bravely volunteering to protect freedom (did I mention freedom?) — but the safety of our dear, duly-elected leader. True, we didn’t talk about safety for any of the cabinet members who attended, such as Condi Rice. We didn’t really see why comparisons between every other time a president visited an aircraft carrier without using a fighter jet make this stance a contradiction, given that slamming a jet at full thrust onto a short landing strip in the hope that a hook said jet is trailing will snag a line, thus (usually) snapping the jet to a stop, is so doggone safe. None of that is important. But trust me, it’s so safe, you wouldn’t believe it. Much safer than, say, taking a boat the 30 miles to the carrier. Also, ignore those published reports about Dick Cheney suggesting the flight. It was, um, Navy safety experts.

“Bring it on,” said one senior official said of the Democratic criticism. “If they think there is something to be gained by investigating and criticizing the president for going out to welcome the troops home, they are even more ridiculous than I thought.”

Did we mention the troops?

But officials said the cost differences were analyzed and were marginal; one official said the hourly cost of using a helicopter was only slightly less expensive than using a jet. This official also said that in the end, the cost of the jet might actually be lower because it made the trip in less time than a helicopter would have.

I don’t know what that other guy was talking about. Safety? Pshaw! This is about your tax dollars. We looked at all the options and found this the cheapest. And why? I’m glad you asked. You see, I, a White House official, happen to be an expert on the cost of operation for military equipment. I was crunching some numbers and I have decided that faster = cheaper! It’s so logical, isn’t it?

In fact, since every flying machine has the same operating expenses, I can’t understand why airlines don’t service every airport with 747s. It would certainly be cheaper.

Of course, here in the Land of the Brave, we wish it could be free.

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