There’s war, and then there’s WAR

Quite a few people have linked to Herbert Meyer’s analysis of the war about the War On Terror, mostly favorably and mostly those who agree with Perception One.

It’s a great read, but I don’t like to just link to things without adding something. In this case, I have a few thoughts about the metawar he discusses.

The Perception Two crowd see this as, indeed, the “real” war, and are fighting it as they believe political “wars” ought to be fought, with all the standard weapons they usually trot out.

These weapons are familiar to anyone who even casually observes politics in this country: public opinion polls, public campaigns, political machinations, surveys, “non-binding resolutions” and “votes of no confidence” and threats to funding, investigations, media manipulation (most often with the eager compliance of the media, if for no other reason that political infights are good ink), and all the other things we have grown complacent to over the years.

The problem is that us Perception One people are more interested in fighting what we see as the “real” war, and don’t want to ass around with the same old partisan bullshit that we’ve grown so inured to.

That means us P1 people end up feeling like we’re defending everyone — even those who are doing all they can to hinder us and, by extension, helping those trying to harm all of us.

The real danger is that us P1 people might end up deciding that the political enemies at home are a more immediate threat than the terrorist enemies abroad — and, just like the P2 crowd, start fighting that war with the weapons and tactics we’ve so far reserved for the “real” enemies.

And, at that point, the terrorist will indeed have won. They won’t have to destroy us — we’ll do it all on our own.

There has to be a way to reconcile the P1 and P2 people. Lord knows I’ve tried — repeatedly explaining just why I believe in the P1 argument, citing evidence and arguments and facts and applying logic and reason to the matter. But the die-hard P2 crowd responds as is their wont, using their own political weapons on what I see as something that transcends partisanship.

It pisses me off no end, but I will not — EVER — lose sight that they are not the enemy. They are the opposition — and I will NOT treat my fellow Americans as the enemy until they reach a point where they fully and wholeheartedly commit themselves to the enemy’s cause.

Where exactly that line is drawn, I’m not sure. It’s different for everyone. But for so many on the P2 side, it doesn’t exist at all.

Bill Kristol: Why Bush will be a Winner
Rob Port Eight My Vacation