“enough of this hysteria, stop this paranoia”

Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote a column in Truthdig the other day. In “Terrorized by ‘War on Terror’” he outlines how our government, the media, and those he calls “terror entrepreneurs” have contributed to this bullshit about a war on terror. Terror is a technique of warfare, not an enemy. The constant hammering and yammering about a war on terror has succeeded only is creating a culture of fear, he wrote.

The culture of fear is like a genie that has been let out of its bottle. It acquires a life of its own—and can become demoralizing. America today is not the self-confident and determined nation that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful words “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”; nor is it the calm America that waged the Cold War with quiet persistence despite the knowledge that a real war could be initiated abruptly within minutes and prompt the death of 100 million Americans within just a few hours. We are now divided, uncertain and potentially very susceptible to panic in the event of another terrorist act in the United States itself.

That is the result of five years of almost continuous national brainwashing on the subject of terror, quite unlike the more muted reactions of several other nations (Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, to mention just a few) that also have suffered painful terrorist acts. In his latest justification for his war in Iraq, President Bush even claims absurdly that he has to continue waging it lest al-Qaida cross the Atlantic to launch a war of terror here in the United States.

The “terror entrepreneurs” are the experts on terrorism (alleged) who have a profit motive for their own tactics of terrorizing the American public by painting horrific scenarios of death and destruction. As if the three terrorist attacks in the US since 1993 weren’t enough to give us the heebie-jeebies. The brainwashing of America has given rise to absurdities. When we were in Washington DC for our honeymoon, it was depressing to see barricades around our federal buildings and monuments—they are so completely stupid and so unpatriotic. We’ve turned into a nation that cowers—and that’s something we never were. And it’s all fed by the powerseekers and greed:

That America has become insecure and more paranoid is hardly debatable. A recent study reported that in 2003, Congress identified 160 sites as potentially important national targets for would-be terrorists. With lobbyists weighing in, by the end of that year the list had grown to 1,849; by the end of 2004, to 28,360; by 2005, to 77,769. The national database of possible targets now has some 300,000 items in it, including the Sears Tower in Chicago and an Illinois apple and pork festival.

Besides the government feeding our paranoia (“Report suspicious activity”)

The entertainment industry has also jumped into the act. Hence the TV serials and films in which the evil characters have recognizable Arab features, sometimes highlighted by religious gestures, that exploit public anxiety and stimulate Islamophobia. Arab facial stereotypes, particularly in newspaper cartoons, have at times been rendered in a manner sadly reminiscent of the Nazi anti-Semitic campaigns. Lately, even some college student organizations have become involved in such propagation, apparently oblivious to the menacing connection between the stimulation of racial and religious hatreds and the unleashing of the unprecedented crimes of the Holocaust.

Brzezinski writes that sooner or later, we’ll come to our senses and be embarrassed by all that we gave up and all that we inflicted on others in the name of security. He’s probably right, but how long will it take? It took more than three years for the majority Americans to get fed up with the occupation of Iraq and we’re still not out of there and Iraqis and Americans are still dying for nothing. Brzezinski pleads for common sense, for someone to lead us by proclaiming enough is enough. I hope. We need to start focusing on real threats to our national wellbeing, such as climate change and healthcare costs. Why can’t the terror entrepreneurs make their money blabbing about how to fix real problems that we can actually solve? How about brainwashing us into competition with our neighbors to have the lowest carbon footprint in the neighborhood? Yeah, right.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/28/07 at 10:43 PM
  1. That is the result of five years of almost continuous national brainwashing on the subject of terror, quite unlike the more muted reactions of several other nations. Thanks mate.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/06  at  02:53 AM
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