Know Thine Enemy?

September 25, 2006 at 6:49 pm | Posted in Afghanistan, American politics, Iraq, King George, War on Terror | Leave a comment

Sun Tzu warned us long long ago in a country far far away to know our enemies, lest we fail against them. In an example of just how little we know our supposed enemy today, look at President Bush trying to label this enemy:

SHORTLY after terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush’s speechwriters began grappling with a linguistic puzzle: What to call the enemy? In the five years since, Mr. Bush has road-tested an array of terms: evildoers, jihadists, Islamic extremists, even “Al Qaeda suiciders.”

But no phrase has crashed and burned as fast as the president’s most recent entry into the foreign policy lexicon: Islamic fascists, or, Islamo-fascism.

I think we know who our enemies are, but some of us, the President included, want to label them with a tag fit perfect for print and video media that would stir emotions as much as Nazism and fascism and communism did in the past. Evildoers just doesn’t cut it. Jihadists isn’t accurate. Islamic extremists probably comes closest, but even then, our “enemies” are not the same around the world. Trying to fit all our enemies into one, or even two, neatly packaged labels does our country a great disservice, because we then apply the same strategy to combat that enemy to two totally diverse situations. That strategy will end up failing, as is evidenced by both Iraq and Afghanistan.

I think we should just stop playing to the camera and the short-attention-span American audience and tell them the truth.

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