When is the truth deception? When is deception the truth?
This question came up in my foreign propaganda class: When is the truth deception, and when can deception be the truth?
Sometimes metaphors can be the best means of explanation. Even fiction, well-presented, can boil down complicated or philosophical issues to something that everyone can understand.
Let’s let Captain Jack Sparrow answer the question for us, in this shot from the first Pirates of the Caribbean series. Two dim-witted soldiers catch the pirate as he is trying single-handedly to commandeer a warship. He lies about his name, but the rest is true:
In Pirates of the Caribbean IV, On Stranger Tides, Captain Jack Sparrow speaks again about the mysteries of truth and deception, this time in one of his tiffs with the pirate Angelica: “You lied to me by telling the truth? That is very good. May I use that?”
Might our nation’s adversaries and enemies be telling the truth about themselves – and we are refusing to accept the fact that what they are saying is, in fact, true?
Take the Muslim Brotherhood, for example. It says quite openly (in Arabic, not English) what its strategic goals are. Perhaps, like Sparrow, it is comfortable telling the truth because it is confident that its adversaries won’t believe it.