Know Thy Enemy?



In a section of “The Art of War” on operational strategies, Sun Tzu counseled “Know Thy Enemy.”

As we rapidly approach a presidential election that since 9/11 has promised to be a critical moment of decision, we conservatives look around at the political forces arrayed against President Bush, and we wonder, is it even possible to know our enemy?

Designations for military units, such as the Sixtieth This attached to the Second That Division, are sometimes a hodge-podge of seemingly unrelated numbers in part to confuse enemy intelligence, to make it harder for the enemy to understand just what it is up against.

Any conservative who parachutes into liberal territory on a reconnaissance mission to try and develop a taxonomy of the various elements that make up President Bush’s political enemies will quickly find themselves not in America, as they expected, but in a foreign culture where right is wrong and wrong is right, white is black and black is white.

Our intrepid conservative agent will meet people who will look them in the eye and say “I am a very moral person”, but in the very next breath say “Bush is evil, and not only is he evil, he is as evil as Hitler, and is like Hitler.” By what possible standard of morality can shoveling six million Jews into ovens and gas chambers, and wreaking untold havoc from Normandy to the Volga River, be compared to anything Bush has done in response to an attack that murdered three thousand Americans in their offices and airplane seats? This is unknowable, and if this moral relativism is news to you, conduct your own reconnaissance and see what’s out there.

A related leap presented as truism is that the Bush Administration is a nest of fascists. If you recall, Gentle Reader, this was the ideology behind the Nazis and Mussolini. It does not seem possible to know how such a comparison can even be conceived, let alone seriously propounded.

Our agent will quickly find that one of the cultural touchstones in this foreign land is the “Bush lied” theme. Far from being confined to a loony fringe, even John Kerry warbled this folksong in his recent nomination speech. If you didn’t actually hear the word “lie” in that speech, it’s because you don’t speak the language.

It is difficult to discern what Bush is supposed to have lied about. If lying is to deliberately make an untrue statement with intent to deceive, just what did Bush know to be untrue, but yet present as true anyway?

If the charge is about Iraq’s WMD programs, to say Bush lied means he knew ahead of time what would be found when the troops arrived, and juiced up the threat anyway. Is there any proof of that? Is it so preposterous that given Hussein’s prior use of chemical weapons, his continued defiance of weapons inspections, and unchallenged evidence that WMD programs had existed, reasonable people would be concerned about a possible threat? Bush was clear about his preemptive doctrine, about not waiting till it was too late to discover a threat. How is that lying?

If the charge is about the reasons Bush went to war, to say he lied means he knew his stated reasons were bogus, and he really went to war for…what. The what is not clear.

Was it for oil? Oil is over forty dollars a barrel, and where are the tankers lined up bow to stern in the Persian Gulf waiting to steal Iraqi oil and take it back here?

Related to the cry of an odd definition of fascism is a belief that Bush really went to war to somehow benefit corporations. It is not at all clear just what form this benefit was to take. Perhaps Bush decided it was a good trade to spend tens of billions of dollars and risk thousands of lives to gain a few billion in reconstruction dollars.

Again, where is proof of the lie? It is nigh impossible to get a straight answer to that question, because it so hard to understand the people that make such charges without proof.

If there is no proof that Bush deliberately lied, then just who is lying here? I think deep down the enemy knows the real answer to that question.