Aiding The Enemy

From Andrew Sullivan, here is a clip of Gen. Powell after his appearance on MSNBC’s Meet the Press this morning:


In the less than twelve hours that Colin Powell has been an official Obama supporter, he’s already proven to be one of the Democratic candidate’s most effective surrogates.

What really strikes me about these brief remarks is that Powell uses against McCain the kind of attacks that Republicans have been using against Democrats since the invasion of Iraq: that criticism is in fact emboldening the enemy.  The difference here is that Powell’s argument is infinitely more intellectually honest than any other argument used by any other Republican in the attack of a Democrat.

The old party line is, as I’m sure you know, any form of criticism of the administration’s policies emboldens terrorists.  The logic behind it is that when terrorists see dissenting voices arguing against their government, somehow that makes them think they are winning.  I’ve always understood the gist of the argument, but at the same time always thought it inherently flawed; after all, one of the bedrocks of this country is the ability to freely disagree and challenge each other.

Now, here’s a partial transcript of what Powell says above:

Those kinds of images going out on al Jazeera are killing us around the world.  And we have gotta say to the world, um, it doesn’t make a difference who you are or what you are.  If you’re an American, you’re an American.  And this business of, for an example, this congressman from Minnesota who’s going around saying let’s examine all congressmen to see who is pro-America, or not pro-America; we have got to stop this kind of nonsense.

The core argument here is that it is the thoroughly un-American behavior of questioning Americans on their Americanism that is hurting us.  This is what emboldens terrorists and aids the enemy because it shows that our resolve in the basic principles of what this country is can be shaken.  On one level, we see people attacking Muslims, and this lends credence to Islamic extremists who try to paint America as an anti-Islamic devil state.  But on a different level completely, this is the very image of us canabalizing ourselves.

I have always said that the most un-American act is calling another American un-American, and Gen. Powell said just that today.

2 Responses to “Aiding The Enemy”

  1. Kathy says:

    Kyle, I think Powell said “congresswoman,” not “congressman.” It was in fact, a woman — Michele Bachman.

  2. Abdurahman says:

    Well said. I thought no one would ever ask: … what about if he was a Muslim?

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