Friday, September 15, 2006

The Politics of Fear

It has become obvious in the last few weeks that the Republican campaign strategy for the mid-term elections is based on fear. Bush, Frist, random congressmen, and others this week have uniformly returned over and over in interviews to the immediacy of the Al Qaeda threat. Bush, when asked by a reporter in an interview about torture tactics by the CIA, responded with a question to the reporter--"Do you have a family?"

This is unfortunate, because there are many issues to discuss and, I believe, many Republicans and Democrats who have the capacity to honestly discuss these issues. For the Republicans, however, the White House directs strategy. For the Democrats, as we have seen for the last 6 years, no person or group drives any consensus.

Looking at the extremely important need to guard against terror, but in a way that doesn't suggest that we have to look under our beds each night to check for a hidden cell member, I recommend reading James Fallows article "Declaring Victory" in the September issue of the Atlantic Monthly. Here are few excerpts:

---Al-Qaeda's mistakes, and our successes, have sharply reduced the terrorist network's ability to harm the United States. Its threat now rests less on what it can do itself than on what it can trick, tempt, or goad us into doing.

---Americans still face dangers, as they always have. They have recently lacked leaders to help keep the dangers in perspective.(I should add that now the "leaders" are knowingly abandoning perspective)

---Al-Qaeda can do more harm to the United States than to, say, Italy because the self-damaging potential of an American overreaction is so vast.

---The terrorists keep killing Muslim civilians. That is their Achilles' heel. Every time the bombs go off and kill civilians it works in our(U.S. and allies) favor.

---"The things we have done right have hurt Al-Qaeda. The things they have done wrong(the attacks on mosques and markets) have hurt them worse. There is only one thing keeping them going now. That is our incredible mistakes."

What was refreshing about this article was that it dealt with facts and issues and for the most part was devoid of overt political commentary.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Democratic" Party's lack of consensus could be a positive compared to the Cheney/Rove orchestrated consensus of the Republicans. Unfortunately the Democratic Party's approach may only be the result of competitors sandbagging each other in anticipation of the 2008 primaries.

12:26 AM  

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