Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Liberal Myopia or fifth column?

My buddy, the Functional Ambivalent, has an interesting post this morning regarding the President’s use of propaganda in the War on Terror, and the underlying facts surrounding the capture of an Al Queda member. Tom explains in full here, but for those of you who don’t want to click over to his fine site, the basic gist is this: If we promote the capture of a “top level operative” and the facts suggest that the guy we captured was really a go-fer for other top level operatives (who new terrorists had go-fers?), then are we not damaging our credibility in the eyes of the enemy who knows the truth?

When I first read Tom’s post, my immediate temptation was to post a snide comment about how Tom must be thrilled with his amazing revelation that governments over-hype their successes in wars, and down play their set backs. While this would have been fun, and completely in line with my typical modus operandi, I had a little issue this time. The problem, it seemed to me, was that he actually had a point – over stated perhaps since Al Queda, as much as any enemy we’ve ever faced clearly understands the importance of media manipulation in a war, but still, a valid point.

In the case Tom sites, it isn’t fully clear to me that this man was as low on the Al Queda totem pole as some would have us believe since Jordan has sentenced the man to death for his alleged involvement in the millennium bombing (see here FOLLOW UP NOTE: Link has apparently been taken down since it was linked to by another blogger earlier today) and the 9/11 commission also viewed him as an important figure (see here). Despite these quibbles, what seems clear is that the administration intentionally exaggerated his status as a top-level operative and this would tend to make us look either desperate or silly in the eyes of the enemy.

That said, Tom is not the first liberal to bring this point up and I think it alludes to a much more important point that our liberal friends like to ignore. If, as they suggest, exaggerating our accomplishments beyond all reason is damaging to the war effort, then what do our liberal friends think undermining the war effort does? Oh, they all try to protect themselves from this charge by suggesting, as Tom does this morning, that Bush supporters claim criticizing the President hurts our effort, but nothing could be further from the truth. Conservatives, and Bush supporters, who have criticized the President in the War include Kristol, Fukyama, the Krautmaster General, and George Will to name just a few. I’d include myself in that group, but the name Pursuit, just doesn’t carry that much weight compared to those guys. Yet.

So it isn’t criticism that we believe undermines the effort, but instead, it is the ongoing crusade of the left in this country to exaggerate our faults that damages the war effort and puts our troops in greater danger. Certainly, the suggestions that our justification for entering the war was a lie, and the (primarily) Democratic politicization of this war for electoral gain are dangerous actions that embolden our enemy. Indeed, we’ve seen both in the Al Queda training manual and in captured documents, numerous statements of how gaming the media is a critical strategy for our enemy.

None-the-less, although they are in possession of this knowledge, loyal liberals remain virtually silent when it comes to criticizing these far more damaging acts. Instead my liberal friends remain silent in the face of:

o Ugly posts, such as those on certain beagle loving sites, that attempt to make political hay out of the torture and murder of our soldiers

o The exploitation of a grieving mother

o An ex-presidential candidate who calls for our near immediate surrender

o A once valiant (I’m told) serviceman, now turned bloated Pennsylvanian representatives, who insists that we cannot win and calls our marines murderers before he is in possession of all the facts

o Koran abuse controversies

o Over blown torture allegations

o Demands of due process for enemy combatants

The fact is that our enemies must be emboldened when they hear such things and I’m left thinking that compared to such dangerous acts, complaining that the President’s exaggeration of a captured enemy’s status might send the wrong message to our enemy seems like a strange place to start.

So I wonder when our loyal liberal friends will stand up for more than their politics. Countless conservatives have taken issue with the President’s tactics, and a few have even been against the Iraq war from the start. I’m left hard pressed though to come up with a liberal who has called for their side to cease and desist with their anti-American acts. Joe Lieberman comes to mind, but the consequence for Joe has been virtual banishment from the party he loves.

Sadly, I don’t see much hope that anything will change soon. The Democratic party seems to have pinned its hopes this fall on their anti-American message, and while this doesn’t seem like a winning strategy from my point of view, I’m afraid their fully committed. I know there are others out there who do put country above party, and I hope that they will soon see that this must end..

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