Reach Upwards has an interesting post on standing united. The article linked to an excellent article on propaganda by Ion Mihai Pacepa. I've been dismayed for the last several years, as the left has been undergoing a shrill propaganda campaign similar to those waged in the cold war. I had so hoped that our society could cast off the extreme damage caused by all that idiocy. It is now back and as shrill as ever.
I was thinking back to the last time I felt good about anything in politics.
I had actually become quite optimistic about the future in that brief period between the invasion of Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. During that brief period of time, both the international peacekeeping community and the United States government were actively engaged in rebuilding war torn Afghanistan.
I avoided using the the word "unity." The people working to rebuild Afghanistan were not unified in their vision. They were divided as ever by ideology. People with different visions of the future just happened to be in the same place at the same time working in complementary ways.
I contend that political unity is overrated. The reconstruction of Afghanistan was off to a great start because the people of different political views and partisanship affiliation all had a constructive roles to play.
I believe that the key to prosperity isn't the act of unifying people under the same ideology. The key to prosperity is structuring society so that everyone has an active and constructive role to play.
When people don't have an constructive role to play, they will play a destructive role.
The invasion of Iraq, of course, had the predictable effect of marginalizing the peace effort. Peacekeepers are a politically sensitive lot who will turn against any government that they feel is using their peacekeeping efforts as a tool of war.
The decision to invade Iraq when diplomacy was working alienated the peacekeepers and those who were supportive of the peacekeepers.
The radical left, using the techniques perfected in the cold war, has been able to use this marginalization and turn it into extremely deep division that America will be suffering from for decades to come.
Calls from the right for unity have the political effect of furthering the division between the left and right. The calls for unity have the effect of unifying people on the left in leftist camps, and unifying people on the right in rightist camps. They calls for unity lead to an even greater and more dangerous disunity.
Lets face it. There will never be a day when everyone is unified in the spirit of war. Quite frankly, there will never be a day when people are united in the spirit of any political issue.
To be blunt: "Unity of Spirit" is nothing more than a political slogan that effectively allows the dictatorial forces of the world to divide and conquer.
The path for real success is not to be found in calls for unity. The best path for achieving success is to create political and economic structures that give people of different political views a constructive role to play.
The early reconstruction effort in Afghanistan provided a rare opportunity when the elements for true progress were in place.
I actually wonder if Bush was simply naive and sincerely believed that it would be possible to escalate the war without alienating the peacekeepers, or if his political strategists saw further alienation of the left as one of the benefits of invading Iraq.
Regardless of what cause the mess. The way out of the mess is to give people outside the right a greater constructive role in foreign policy.
Bush's troop surge was successful in that it turned the Iraqi government one final slim chance for survival. The best bet for capitalizing on the surge and making it a success is to change strategy in a way that give groups other than the Bush Administration a constructive role in building Iraq.
My fear is that the partisan calls for unity have magnified foundational differences to the point where the players that could make a difference in saving Iraq will simply ignore any offer of a constructive role.