Terrorized by ‘War on Terror’
How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Sunday, March 25, 2007; Page B01
The “war on terror” has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration’s elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America’s psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.
The damage these three words have done — a classic self-inflicted wound — is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare — political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.
To justify the “war on terror,” the administration has lately crafted a false historical narrative that could even become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By claiming that its war is similar to earlier U.S. struggles against Nazism and then Stalinism (while ignoring the fact that both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were first-rate military powers, a status al-Qaeda neither has nor can achieve), the administration could be preparing the case for war with Iran. Such war would then plunge America into a protracted conflict spanning Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and perhaps also Pakistan.
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-Qaeda cross the Atlantic to launch a war of terror here in the United States.
Such fear-mongering, reinforced by security entrepreneurs, the mass media and the entertainment industry, generates its own momentum. The terror entrepreneurs, usually described as experts on terrorism, are necessarily engaged in competition to justify their existence. Hence their task is to convince the public that it faces new threats. That puts a premium on the presentation of credible scenarios of ever-more-horrifying acts of violence, sometimes even with blueprints for their implementation.
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.
Daily Archives: March 26, 2007
The hostage crisis cooled a bit; Blair is making nicer noises, as are the Iranians. Oil didn’t go up all that much. And Beloved Bush kept his mouth shut.
“It should become clear whether their entry (into Iran) was intentional or unintentional. After that is clarified, the necessary decision will be made,” Mostafavi said.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office sought to play down fears that the incident would deepen tensions with Iran, which threatened to charge the 15 with illegally entering its territory.
The seizure of the British service personnel has deepened troubles between Iran and the West, which is concerned about Iran’s nuclear program and accused the country of interfering with the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Blair’s spokesman said he intended to treat the seizure as a distinct issue. “This is a matter that should be dealt with on its own merits,” he said.
The USA will shoot on April 6
A Russian newspaper has claimed that the USA will shoot Iranian nuclear facilities and the bombardment will last 10 hours.
Many politicians, diplomats and journalists have mentioned the possibility of US military intervention in Iran to stop its nuclear program. The US government has implied supporting this option by saying “every option is on the table.” A weekly newspaper in Russia has even gone so far as to announce the date and even the hour of the war. According to the Argominti Nidili newspaper, the USA will bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities on April 6th in the morning from 6 a.m to 4 p.m.
Here is the original story from the Russian newspaper, translated by berns 19 at dKos:
According to anonymous sources, Russia is refusing to continue support to Iran and leaving it to answer IAEA’s questions itself, saying that they “won’t play in anti-American games.” Military action is planned for the first week of April immediately before Easter when most people will be on vacation. According to the article, the strike will last 12 hours (!) from 4 AM to 4 PM under the codename “Bite.” The 20 targets are centrifuges and labs, but not Bushehr. The focus will be on the command and control systems. Bombers from Diego Garcia and nearby carriers, and submarine-launched cruise missiles, will do the work.
This story is a bogus plant. Suffice to say that the usual characteristics of frauds apply here. And the details are just baloney. In fact, the story is so ridiculous that I think that it was designed so that Americans would not believe it. All it lacks is an April 1 date.
Juan Cole is reporting that Iyad Allawi’s attempts to create a coalition government in Iraq seems to have failed. If this is true, the US’ options are limited should the “surge” fail.