20 August 2007

Disconnects and Doublethink

It seems to me that there is a real disconnect in the mind of some politicians between the war in Iraq and the larger fight against Islamo-facists. Here’s a clip from an article in US News and World Report which smells of doublethink:

That's why all the major Democratic candidates are trying to convey a tough stance toward terrorism, while opposing the Iraq war. Clinton is trying to placate her party's anti-Iraq war left while at the same time appearing tough-minded about the threats facing the country. Her advisers say she is "antiwar and pro-defense," and concede she is well aware that a Democratic candidate in the general election has a special challenge to show strength.

First, the disconnect between the war in Iraq and the larger war, I believe, is largely to blame on the White House – all of it – not spending more time explaining how these things are linked. For a long time, only one opinion has been voiced, that there is no connection between the two and that the terrorism link is being used by President Bush to paper over the WMD non-find. That there isn’t a vigorous dissemination of information to counter this idea is disappointing and directly results in the above mentioned disconnect.

Second, that one candidate can be “antiwar and pro-defense” is politically expedient doublethink without question. Senator Clinton is not alone in pushing this “message.”

Being “antiwar” would seem to mean that fighting any aggressor is out of the question; it is pacifistic. On its own “antiwar” is a valid point of view (though highly problematic in my opinion…it only works until the pacifist is about to be killed brutally by some group who doesn’t share his or her view).

Being “pro-defense” attempts to bring national self-defense into the argument. Again, this is logical – defend the homeland. The trick here is that defensive fights seem to lend themselves more to attrition than to winning strategies (though I’m no military expert, so I could clearly be wrong). The question here is at what point does “pro-defense” jump the fence and become “pro-war”?

And that is the doublethink that the “antiwar-pro-defense-ers” should have to answer at some point. In doing so, they will probably go back to the first disconnect mentioned here and address that as well. And then the conversation might get interesting, as long as it’s not in 30 second sound bites.

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