Media: Bush’s ‘Flawed’ Portrayal of ‘The Enemy’ in State of the Union Address

-By Warner Todd Huston

In response to president Bush’s State of the Union Address, the Washington Post’s main criticism seems to be that Bush doesn’t understand who “the enemy” is in the Global War on Terror. Yet as the Post proceeds to knock what they perceive as Bush’s simple minded rhetoric with today’s news article they only reveal it is they, rather, that has no idea who our enemies are.

In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of “the enemy” that the United States faces overseas, lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus in attacking the United States.

The Post’s conception of “flawed” is just as ill considered as they imagine the president’s to be and their analysis adds up merely to mirror the conception held by many Europeans.

Once again, a National U.S. paper “arguably” chooses sides with Europe’s interests over that of America.

Under Bush’s rubric, a country such as Iran — which enjoys diplomatic representation and billions of dollars in trade wit major European countries — is lumped together with al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat,” Bush said, referring to the different branches of the Muslim religion.

Trade? How is trade an assurance of the benevolence of any nation? Nations didn’t stop trading with Nazi Germany even as Hitler was Blitzkrieging through Europe, for instance. Even the USA was still trading with the Confederacy after the Civil War had already begun. The fact that Europe is still trading with Iran as if everything is hunkeydorie does NOT say one word as to the Iranian regime’s status as a bunch of nice guys. Trade is one of the last things that is affected by war. Business is business, after all.

Further Bush did not “lump together” al-Qaeda and Iran as if they were indistinguishable, as the Post seems to be claiming.

Here is what Bush actually said:

In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah — a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken.

The president said that the Shia extremists in Iran are “second only to al Qaeda” among the enemies we face. He did not, however, say they were one and the same. The Post’s simple-minded efforts to make Bush himself look simple minded only makes the Post out to be practicing partisan political demagogy.

Bush’s saying that Shia and Sunni extremism are only “different faces of the same totalitarian threat” is not to say they are wholly the same, only that they share a similar end game: total domination over the Middle East in the near term and the world in the long term. Using WWII as an example again, it would like saying that the Nazis and the Japanese were indistinguishable merely because they both wanted to rule the world. No one would make such an absurd claim. Yet both threatened our extinction. Just as both Shia and Sunni extremism today threatens our interests and our way of life.

Unfortunately, the Post seems to see no threat from Iran in particular and Shia extremism in general.

Perhaps no one let the Washington Post in on the badly kept secret that Iran has been sending weapons, manpower, advisors and thousands of IEDs into Iraq to attack us since the first day Saddam’s hold over the country ended. Not to mention the constant threat and rhetoric against us emanating from the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

It would be amazing, indeed, if the Post missed all that. Since it is, indeed, impossible that they could have missed such facts the only conclusion is that they are willfully ignoring them.

The Post goes on to wax eloquent over the wonderful democracy that saw Hamas elected to government in a Syrian dominated Lebanon that represents the first of the “most liberal and diverse societies” in the Middle East — the second being that of the bright and shining example in the Palestinian Territories.

What a disconnect! Hamas and the PLO as innocent democrats!

The Post gives this astonishingly a-historical description of the terror group Hamas:

Hezbollah has evolved into primarily an anti-Israeli militant organization — it fought a war with Israel last summer — but the European Union does not list it as a terrorist organization.

“Evolved into”, Washington Post? That is all it ever WAS and all it remains to this day.

And the point that Europe doesn’t define Hamas as a terror group –presumably somehow proving Hamas is innocent of terror — is presented as if Bush is the only one in the world who does make such a claim. But Australia, Canada and Israel all consider Hamas a terror organization. After a fashion, the EU also lists Hamas as a terror organization making the Post’s point that they do not an entirely misleading claim.

Like most things European, there is smoke and there is fire in the European procedure of creating definitions, in this case of “terrorists”. You see, the EU has two terror organization lists, those of terror organizations inside the EU and those outside the EU (links are .pdf files). Hamas appears on the list of those inside the EU but does not appear on that of terror organizations outside the EU.

Only in Europe can a group be terrorists at home, but not anywhere else!

Obviously, the Washington Post has no grasp of the political game that Europe plays with terrorism. The Post’s understanding of the situation is undeveloped and simple minded in the extreme and their conclusions are drawn from faulty logic and incomplete information.

In the end, the Post’s only goal is a partisan attack on Bush in an effort to elect a Democrat as president in 2008 and they won’t let the facts get in the way of that. Their efforts only give aid and comfort to our enemies. As general Patraeus told the Senate the other day in his confirmation hearings, rhetoric like this only serves to give hope to the enemy.

More to the point, the Washington Post is indicative of most of the Mainstream Media in how they misconstrue the relevant facts in the Middle East and how they willfully warp those facts to fit their domestic political agenda of destroying the American right.

As always, the MSM’s real enemy is “we the people”.

Warner Todd Huston’s thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites such as,, men’ and among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a guest on several radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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