Saturday, September 30, 2006

War ala Rove

The Rovewellian brainwash we're hearing in support of our failed wars is positive proof that the pen is, indeed, mightier than the sword. The Bush administration continues to use the written and spoken word to garner support for military actions in a conflict that our generals admit has no military solution.

Remember back when the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) became the Struggle Against Violent Extremism for about five minutes?

In the summer of 2005, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tried to rename America's fight against al Qaeda to more accurately describe the nature of the conflict. General Richard Meyers, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that he had "objected to the use of the term 'war on terrorism' before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution." The solution, according to Meyers, was "more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military,"

But young Mister Bush wasn't having none of that "struggle" talk. He didn't want to be no "struggle-time" president. No. You see, people don't rally round no president in times of struggle. "Times of struggle" is something Beatles and hippies write songs about. There's nothing especial about a struggle. People struggle every day, even when things are all peaceful like. Just putting food on the table is a struggle for a lot of folks. Mister Bush knows all about that. When he was growing up, some of his parents' servants' children actually wore hand me down clothes.

And it's hard work coming up with "struggle propaganda."

Pavlov's Dogs of War

What's more, it's hard to sell the disaster in Iraq if you call it the central front in the struggle on violent extremism, and if you start giving people the idea that the solution can't be achieved by the military, they might start asking "Then what the hell is our military doing in Iraq?" They might also start asking why they're spending $ 2 billion per week on a "war" that isn't a solution to the "struggle."

If you have a struggle, you're struggling against "adversaries" or "competitors." Adversaries and competitors, while challenging, aren't very scary. No, to get everybody good and scared and rallied around the president, you need to have "enemies," and in order to have enemies, you need to have a "war."

And enemies in wartime are pretty easy to come by. Heck, you don't even have to say exactly who the enemies are. In fact, it's better if you stay vague on the subject. That's why you talk about an "axis of evil," which is good and scary. Everybody's scared of evil, except for evil worshipers, which is what makes them so scary--they're part of the axis!

Some folks say you can't have a "war on terrorism" because you can't wage war against a tactic. That's nonsense. We've been waging a war against a tactic for over five years, and there's no end in sight.

You see, the advantage to having a war against isms and evildoers is that there's no end of isms and evildoers. If you accidentally happen to defeat one evil-ism, you can always find another one to keep the war going. And if you conduct the war in a way that every "success" creates more evildoers and isms, well shoot, you're in like a frat boy unsnapping a bra.

If people start complaining about how much all your foreign wars are starting to cost, all you have to tell them is that if "we" withdraw, "they" will follow us home, and the beauty part is that you don't even need to explain who "they" are. "They" are everybody who hates us, who hate our way of life. And if you've spread around enough "hate talk" in the course of conducting your war on hateful evil and alienated all your allies, well then, everybody who hates us is everybody but "us."

Which means "they" would need one heck of a big navy and air force in order to follow us "here." They don't have a navy or air force that big, and they can't build one. There's a chance "our" folks might figure that out eventually, which is why it's so important to keep "us" so afraid of what "they" can't do so that "we" can't think straight enough to figure out "they" can't do it.

What do we do about those war critics among "us" who are actually one of "them?" "We" craft propaganda that accuses "them" of listening to "their" propaganda instead of listening to "ours."

And who are "we?" We're everybody who doesn't hate America, which is everyone who rallies behind the president in the conduct of his war against "them." And since every one of "us" who doesn't rally around "him" is one of "them," that gives "him" all the excuse he needs to take away those cherished "freedoms" he's defending so he can keep "them" from taking away our cherished freedoms away from "us."

And why should any of "us" complain about that? After all, "we" have but one habeas corpus to give for "our" country.

So let's all get behind young Mister Bush and his cockamamie War on Evil. After all, he's a "decider", not a "divider," even if he is a "multiplier" of "them."

Remember, you're with us or against us.

Who are "you?"


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.


  1. That was beautiful....

  2. Thanks for the nice words.



  3. Jeff, who do you think was the greater master of propaganda? Karl Rove or Josef Goebbels? Excellent points in your post and re who am I? Just some guy who spent 24 years in a blue suit defending the Constitution, which makes me a "them" in the current state of affairs. Mike

  4. Off the top of my head, I'd say Rove. Goebbels had a country full of angry people who were primed to believe what his boss had to say about the rights and future of Germany.

    Rove essentially had to turn a country that was experiencing one of the most peaceful and prosperous eras in its history.

    My 2 c.

  5. Anonymous4:53 AM

    There may be another reason that he chose to describe his ill-conceived endeavors as a "war" instead of a "struggle."

    The Arabic translation of the word "struggle" is "jihad"...

    At the very least in the Arabic speaking world, the media would have noted the irony in bush's declaring a "jihad"...

  6. Declare a jihad on the jihad?