Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Nightmare on Graham Street

"This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home."

Heh, heh. Why hasn't Lindsey Graham - and others like him - been laughed out of politics by now? How could it be any more clear that he's pushing irrational fear simply for his own political advantage?

Remember, we over-reacted badly after the 9/11 attacks, causing us to invade two countries, one of them having nothing at all to do with the attacks. (Saddam Hussein had never attacked us and was no threat to America whatsoever. Yet remember the "smoking gun/mushroom cloud" rhetoric used by the Bush White House to push fear?)

And we're still struggling to extricate ourselves from the quagmire that's Afghanistan. All for nothing, too. George W. Bush never did get Osama bin Laden - you know, the guy who actually did attack us - and by the end of his presidency, he'd even stopped trying. (It took Barack Obama to show us how we should have gone after bin Laden in the first place.)

Heck, we even allowed our hysterical fear - or the Bush Administration desire for political cover, take your pick - to cause us to torture prisoners of war. Isn't that more than enough over-reaction for this century, already?

Note that you can't stop every determined terrorist. That's just impossible. It doesn't require a brilliant plan, but just the will to do harm. Yet we've seen very little of that in America since 9/11. Doesn't that also seem to indicate that our fears were overblown?

Heck, when it comes to terrorism in America, we've had a bigger problem with right-wing Christians than with Muslims since then, at least until the Boston Marathon bombing (which definitely was a horrific event, even if only three people died).

But terrorism - which is inevitably a sign of weakness, not strength - is designed to instill fear, and it works best on cowards. When our own politicians and news media aren't just cowards, but are actually eager to push that fear themselves, for their own purposes, it's literally helping the enemy.

How did America get through two World Wars if we were this cowardly? How did we get through the Great Depression? How did we get through the Cold War? We had real fears back then, but we faced them bravely. How can a ragged band of religious nuts overseas cause us to panic now - even when politicians are pushing panic for their own selfish reasons?

When will the rest of us say enough is enough? When will be start reacting with laughter, instead of fear? ISIS has been doing some terrible things (overseas, not here), and that's not funny. But the fear-mongering we're seeing from Lindsey Graham and John McCain, among others, deserves nothing but our ridicule.

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