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Civilization Watch
First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card October 10, 2004

Hypocrisy and Cynicism in America

John Kerry criticizes Bush for being "unilateral" even though as a presidential candidate he gets intelligence briefings and he knows that we are getting active support in the war on terror even from nations that oppose us on the campaign in Iraq. Kerry knows that anti-terror activities are proceeding without any hindrance from the Iraq War -- indeed, he knows that the Iraq War prompted many wishy-washy governments to cooperate with us. But he is free to mislead the American people because he knows that the President will not endanger ongoing operations in order to expose Kerry's lies.

Kerry attacks Bush for having been too hasty and unilateral in attacking Iraq -- but demands that we hold unilateral talks with North Korea and insists that Bush is wrong for not having "done something" about Iran and Sudan. In other words, wherever Bush has been deliberate and multilateral, Kerry wants him to have been hasty and unilateral, and vice-versa.

Kerry has no principles. It's as simple as that. He is simply attacking Bush in every way he can think of, and hoping the American people buy the idea that Bush has been incompetent, even though Kerry knows that the war is going as well as any war can be expected to go, both in the Iraq campaign specifically and in the overall War against Terror.

Kerry instantly exploits any setback or loss in the war for his own political advantage; but if Bush should try to point out any success, he is either "deceiving" the American people by looking at things through rose-colored glasses, or he is "exploiting" the sacrifices of our brave soldiers for his own political gain.

The Role of the Press

In a previous column, I wrote: "The lies have been outrageous, and the media, which would have refuted any anti-Kerry lies they could, have been supporting or at least ignoring the false statements about President Bush."

There are those who thought I was merely spouting the standard right-wing line; but then came the memo from ABC News political director Mark Halperin, specifically telling reporters not to hold both sides equally accountable for the truthfulness of their statements.

Halperin admits that "Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his effort to win." But he claims that Bush's distortions are somehow worse.

In fact, the memo is written in such a weaselly way that there is no hope of detecting any moral basis for a distinction between the way Kerry and Bush should be held to account. It is simply taken for granted that it is very important that Kerry win the election and Bush lose it, so that any Bush efforts to expose Kerry's lies are evil, and any Kerry lies directed against Bush are "not central."

The only surprise is that any news director at the major networks or newspapers would feel the need to write such a memo. So reflexive is the press's acceptance of Kerry's ludicrously false and speculative charges against Bush that the only reason Halperin could possibly have for writing this memo is if someone at ABC was actually getting upset about and complaining about the partisan slant of ABC's news coverage.

The scariest thing about Halperin's memo is his thinly veiled threat against anyone who argues against his position. People should only respond to his memo "if you feel you can advance the discussion." This is weasel-speak for "shut up unless you think you have more bureaucratic clout than I have."

There is a reason why we are only getting the truth about the war on terror from a book by Richard Miniter (Shadow War). What he did, reporters for the major news organizations could have done. Most of the information he reports was already available. Most of Kerry's lies about the war could easily be refuted by any reporter who was minimally aware of the real situation in Iraq.

But the press is largely committed to supporting Kerry in his campaign. Therefore he gets a free hand -- as Halperin's memo shows, it is the policy of the news media not to be even-handed, but rather to refute anything Bush says and leave Kerry's lies unanswered.

The problem is that Bush isn't lying, and Kerry is.

Take unemployment. Back in January 1996, Bill Clinton, in his State of the Union address, was very proud that America had the healthiest combined unemployment and inflation rate in 27 years. Unemployment at that point was at 5.6 percent.

Right now unemployment is lower than it was when Clinton was so proud and happy and Democrats rejoiced at his brilliant handling of the economy.

Yet an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent under Bush right now is being treated by Kerry as a terrible crime against the American people.

If the situation were reversed, and a Republican challenger were trying to claim that 5.4 percent unemployment was bad, the media would ridicule him into silence. But because it's a Democrat calling 5.4 percent unemployment a bad thing, the media ignores the hypocrisy and deception.

Halperin's ABC memo began: "It goes without saying that the stakes are getting very high for the country and the campaigns -- and our responsibilities become quite grave."

He's right. The responsibility of the press is quite grave. They are the only means the public has for knowing the truth, and for catching politicians in their lies.

That's why it's so tragic that we have few indeed in the press who are even attempting to do their job. Instead of an independent and honest press, we have a pack of cheerleaders shouting "rah rah rah" to their pet candidate.

President Bush's record is as imperfect as even the best presidents' records -- but he can easily stand up to honest investigation.

Who's the Liar?

Kerry, on the other hand, has a record of lying continuously, from his false statements about the American military in Vietnam (which echoed North Vietnamese propaganda) to his lies about what he threw over a fence and where he spent Christmas during the Vietnam War; from his ridiculously false interpretations of Bush's economic record, to the baseless charge that the Republicans are planning to reinstate the draft.

In fact, given that Kerry claims that despite his record of hostility to the American military, he will recruit 40,000 more troops while cutting the budget deficit in half, one wonders how he plans to do it. Does he think there'll be a sudden rush of enlistments by Kerry supporters? Does he think the military is currently turning away at least twenty thousand highly qualified would-be soldiers each year?

The only way Kerry could add 40,000 more troops is by greatly inflating the benefits -- a procedure which only brings in more recruits in time of peace -- or by instituting a draft.

Of course, the real answer is that Kerry has no intention of adding 40,000 troops -- it's just part of his fakery about being tough on defense.

But the fact remains that the Republican Party has no need for or interest in a draft. President Bush's strong, effective leadership is precisely the thing that will induce -- and is inducing -- brave, intelligent young men to enlist and take on the risks of combat. While there are problems with the "back-door draft" of repeatedly calling up National Guard and Reservists, the fact is that by rearranging the deployment of American soldiers and using our powerful new weapons systems, we don't need a draft.

And won't need a draft unless some terrible combination of events puts us at war with a nation that we could not defeat without a substantial increase in our manpower. (The list is short: It consists of China. And then only if we had to fight them on the ground instead of blocking a sea invasion of Taiwan.)

Scare Tactics

But that's the chief tool of Kerry's campaign: False fear.

Just as Al Gore in 2000 appealed to the Black vote by lying and saying that Bush's election meant a return to segregation (despite Bush's obviously nonracist track record in Texas), so the Democratic Party this year is trying to terrify people into voting for Kerry.

They know they're lying when they warn people that the Republicans will restore the draft. In fact, the only bill to that effect in Congress was introduced by a Democrat, and it has no Republican support whatsoever.

They know they're lying when they tell people that Bush is going to cost them their job -- they would be thrilled to be able to run on Bush's economic record if he were a Democrat.

They know they're lying when they say Bush is destroying the environment -- Bush's only crime has been not to follow the agenda of the most fanatical econazis; in fact the environment continues to improve under his leadership, while avoiding the ridiculously anti-human regulations that are often supported in the name of environmentalism.

They know they're lying when they imply (but never actually say) that Cheney is somehow profiting from Halliburton's large contract in Iraq. They know that Cheney is a genuine public servant who, unlike Bill Clinton, did not get rich while in public service, but only when working as a civilian.

It's a well-known aspect of human nature, that people assume that other people have exactly the same motives as themselves.

When one person accuses another of some wrongdoing, yet has no evidence at all to back it up, you can count on the high likelihood that the accuser is naming his own sins.

When Hillary spoke of a vast right-wing conspiracy, she expected to be believed because she already knew exactly what a vast conspiracy looked like -- since she was at the center of a conspiracy designed to discredit Republican opponents of her husband.

When Al Gore's supporters accused George W. Bush of being a racist, they were merely recognizing their own efforts to racially divide the American electorate.

When George W. Bush is called "divisive," despite his strong track record of trying to reach out to and bring together every element of society, it's easy for any rational person to see that it is his accusers who are the ones creating and exploiting divisions in American society.

And when Kerry and Edwards over and over again call George W. Bush a liar, even though they can cite no instance of Bush knowingly making a statement contrary to fact, what you're really seeing is the hypocrite accusing the other guy of his own sin.

Kerry is a man whose life is driven by ambition, and truth and honor are set aside whenever they might interfere. He takes on whatever "principles" seem most useful in the current election and discards them when they no longer serve his purposes.

Immediate Danger

Which brings us to the clear and specific warning at the end of Richard Miniter's Shadow War: Al Qaeda is planning an attack that is designed to affect the American elections the way that the terrorist attack in Madrid affected the Spanish elections, throwing out the tough anti-terrorist government in favor of an extreme Leftist government.

Miniter's warning is this: We have an infinite number of soft targets in the United States, and if Al Qaeda is thwarted from attacking some symbolic, high-profile target, they might find their purpose served just as cruelly by attacking an elementary school or concert hall, as their Chechen allies did in Russia.

The natural response of the Spanish people to the terrorist attack was outrage and solidarity against terrorism.

But the Left -- and the Leftist press -- immediately went to work spinning the story against the government. The Spanish government initially assumed that the attack came from Spain's homegrown Basque terrorists -- a rational assumption. But whenever the government was found to be wrong, the Left -- and the press -- accused them of lying to the people and covering up (though what they had to cover up no one could say).

By the time of the election a few days later, the big story was, not that Muslim terrorists had attacked Spain, but that the government had lied and bungled everything, even though the people making the charges knew that they were not true.

Since the fanatical extremist Left in America -- as exemplified by John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Michael Moore, and Al Franken (and echoed by puppy-dog John Edwards) -- are already carrying out exactly the same campaign of accusations against the Bush administration, we can be sure of this:

A terrorist attack on American soil before the election would immediately be exploited by Kerry and his friends for their own political profit. Kerry would not speak directly, but he would use his surrogates in the press and the entertainment world to blame Bush for not protecting America adequately and for lying to us about our state of security.

Never mind that Bush and his administration have always warned us that we can never protect completely against terrorism.

Never mind that Kerry and his camp are desperately trying to hamper or remove the provisions of the Patriot Act that even give us a chance against terrorists in the United States.

Never mind that under the Bush administration our military and intelligence and diplomatic communities have a phenomenally good record of victory against Al Qaeda and other terrorists.

No -- if the terrorists do bring off the attack that they are definitely planning, Kerry's camp will seize upon it as the best thing that ever happened for their campaign.

And if we Americans are as dumb as they think we are, Kerry will win.


Here's the greatest irony of all. The things that radical Muslims hate about the United States, apart from their simple jealousy of our wealth and power, are the aspects of American culture that are absolutely the product of the influence of the extremist Left.

Abortion. Sexual promiscuity. Pornography. Open support of homosexuality. Hostility to religion. Denigration of the male sex.

These are the things that radical Islam hates most about America, the reasons they use when they warn fellow Muslims against allowing Western culture to influence them.

Yet, in Al Qaeda's effort to install Osama Bin Laden (or, if he dies, some like-minded successor) as Caliph of all Islam, they find it useful to promote extreme Leftist governments in Western nations.

Why? Because they know Leftist governments won't fight them.

They know John Kerry will hand them the victory they can't win against a determined America.

Ultimately, they believe that Leftist governments will behave in such a way that the Leftist agenda can be swept away and replaced by Shari'a.

Such might be the result of hypocrisy and cynicism in America.

Copyright © 2004 by Orson Scott Card.

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