Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Without Mindless Fear--The Ugly Truth about Cowardice and the Right

Let's get right to the point. The fearmongering, chest-thumping, verbal feces-throwing chickenhawks all have a common trait: cowardice. They are terrified adolescent boys who have been handed a gift--by invoking the 'terrorist threat' at every turn, just like the playground bullies most of them were at age 12, they steal your lunch money and do their best to keep you terrified.

Apparently a thousand years of constant warfare and bloodshed are not enough for these guys. No. They are frightened and angry and they will kill for it.

Although the "reasons" for going to war have usually been manifold and complex, they should revolve around national security. NATIONAL SECURITY. Got it? Not public safety. What is a threat to "national security"? Stands to reason that a threat to "national security" would be a threat to the very existence of our nation. That is, if not countered, the force behind the threat could conquer the USA. The Kaiser in WWI and Hitler and Hirohito in WWII were genuine, bonafied threats to national security. Had we not prevailed against them we would have been conquered and ruled as a subject nation. Nuclear holocaust and assured destruction. Now there's a national security threat. The Soviets were not merely in a position to annoy us or threaten our oil revenue. No--they could have utterly destroyed the USA.

In most other cases since WWII, there has not in fact been a threat to the national security of the United States. The Korean Conflict (not war) was fought over the national security of South Korea and the so-called Domino Theory. The VietNam Conflict (not war) was fought to stem the communist tide. Our military adventures throughout the world in the last half of the 20th century were about many things--but none of them, not one, was about the national security of the United States. And that includes both the invastion of Iraq and the so-called "War" on Terror.

A "national security threat" is the mantra of every power-grabbing, over-reaching bully in the history of human government. "You are with us or against us. We must get them before they get us. Take the fight to the enemy. We will lose our way of life. Do you want the [fill in the blank] hordes raping your daughters?"

Yet we are now told that nearly everything is a threat to national security. You cannot take a hockey stick on to an airplane and women (presumably) are told to refrain from wearing underwire bras--in defense of national security. You can and will be fined thousands of dollars for attempting humor in the wrong place at the wrong time--to protect national security.

Yet--every terrorist in the world, acting in concert could not destroy the United States. Make no mistake, there is very definitely a threat to personal and public safety. Aircraft used as weapons, as we all know, have killed thousands and cost billions. Yet, the impact on the American Republic was so great in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks that President Bush urged Americans to continue shopping. The greatest single act of violence against the citizens of the United States on its own soil killed approximately 3000 people. Yet in a year, travel, work-related, and home accidents--yes, accidents--kill more than 100,000. Are you terrifed of driving?

Again--make no mistake--terrorists do pose a real threat to individual and public safety. But American citizens have been drafted by our leadership into a "War on Terror", something akin to using a firehose to end a flood. The "War on Terror" will succeed in exactly the same way as the "War on Drugs". In the United States we solve all of our problems with WAR: the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on terror. And it's hard for the world to respect the USA as a nation because we apparently never learn anything. Since we have had a war on drugs (over 35 years) we know just how successful these wars are. After all, we are now illegal drug free, right? And the war on poverty? Thank goodness we have rid the nation of the poor.

Nevertheless, we are now faced with a real threat--insane ideologues with a genuine determination to kill US citizens just for being US citizens. But a war? No. And waging a war is not the answer, not to poverty, not to drug abuse, and not to terror. But waging a war is the answer to a bully's wet dream. Scare the crap out of everyone and steal their lunch money.

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