Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What Our Enemies Hear

I recall an email discussion a decade ago, in which I noted that elected Democrats and opponents of the war continually hammering their desire to leave Iraq and Afghanistan, win or no, might be interpreted by our enemies as evidence of a lack of resolve on America's part, and an encouragement to continue fighting and wait us out. I asked that if this were true, did they then bear some responsibility for further American servicemen's deaths?

I didn't say they should be prevented, or that they had no right to speak.  But I thought it was something that any public American should consider when making statements.  Is there not some chance that we might win more quickly if our enemy were intimidated and discouraged? Isn't history actually full of such psychological factors affecting outcomes? Should that not at least be a consideration?

That question was rejected as not only wrong, but rather evil to be even mentioned.  There was no chance of any such thing happening, and my suggestion that Americans should be censored (which I had not said) was fascistic.

Fast forward to today, when not only lefty news sources, but Secretary of State John Kerry are suggesting that Trump's statements are a powerful recruiting tool for ISIS. So apparently, the statements of presidential candidates, who have no actual power, have a great deal of influence on our enemies, while people with actual power, like US Senators, do not. 


Sam L. said...

Right then, right now. Some just refuse to see, or rethink, or re-examine their thinking.

james said...

And don't you love how the candidates telegraph what they'd do to our enemies if elected? Loose lips etc.... The only that that redeems the situation is that they lie to us too.

Retriever said...

I think it's somewhat similar to the way a family has to agree to behave in an exemplary fashion and not disagree in public when moving overseas (as mine did when I was a child). You don't want to look weak or as if you aren't a solid unit. But The concept of family loyalty seems quite foreign to these political bozos. I have often had near rabidly critical attitudes towards particular policies or wicked activities (say, torture or supporting death squads) of our government, but I was raised that one does not give aid and succour to our nation's enemies by attacking one's government in public when one is at war. If one happens to know someone one might badger them privately. One might do one's best to stir their conscience. But a united front is necessary.

Anyone who has raised kids knows this. Parents often disagree, but if you have three or more kids and are outnumbered, you HAVE to at least pretend to agree or the little monsters will defeat you. You can fight about who is really right after the brats are asleep...I am not being that flippant. If a nation seems too divided, it doesn't necessarily seem like a vibrant democracy, at least when fighting certain vicious opponents. It just looks weak.

One might also consider not only the impact of candidates and public figures on our enemies but also on our friends and allies. It amazes me how irresponsibly people like Christie and Trump especially insult people, with comments that get picked up. Such remarks do not just reflect badly on them but end up making people overseas think that ALL Americans are blowhards, racists, and bullies. We have a real problem in our country that because we are a great power, we are far more important to many other countries than they are to us. What this means is that they pay attention to the things that our loathsome politicians and candidates and self appointed leaders say whereas we xenophobically ignore them or pretend to be good friends with them (or talk about a dead one as a friend). My point is that the kinds of ideas that are now mocked contained within the phrase noblesse oblige and chivalry, etc OUGHT to animate the public utterances of our political leaders. Because they affect the attitudes of people worldwide towards all Americans. Mind you, as I discovered in Czechoslovakia when 3 TV channels were running garbage American dubbed series of the "Dukes Of Hazzard" variety, mostly people overseas think we are morons, bimbos, and muscle bound lunks because that's what they see on our TV shows. Who me, cranky?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Excellent, and thank you. I fault Democrats for not caring about international events except as they play out for power in Washington, but the current behavior of Republicans - and the ones you name are particularly good examples - isn't any better.

Whatever happened to "talk softly but carry a big stick?"

dmoelling said...

Dean Acheson's statements leaving Korea out of the US security zone have been blamed as one of the causes of the Korean war. If Sec Kerry had taken his job seriously he would have spent some serious library time to prepare himself. Candidates too have to put themselves in a serious frame of mind. Good advice for everyday people too when out in public