Playing the Fear Card
by Charley Reese
December 1, 2003

The Republican National Committee has shown what President George W. Bush's re-election campaign will be about: fearmongering. Well, he's pretty good at warmongering, so why not play the fear card?

The essence of the RNC's first commercial was that if you don't re-elect Bush, the big, bad boogeyman will get you. You should remember that it was on Mr. Bush's watch that the big, bad boogeyman got us on Sept. 11, 2001. So far as we know, Mr. Bush didn't have a clue.

You should also remember that two years later, the Bush administration has: (1) failed to identify and capture the anthrax killer; (2) failed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, the actual boogeyman who got us; (3) failed to capture or kill Saddam Hussein; and (4) failed to capture or kill Mullah Omar of Taliban fame.

Worse, rather than going after the terrorists who actually attacked us, Mr. Bush has invited all of the world's terrorists to attack us by declaring war on them and has gotten us bogged down in two guerrilla wars. Whatever happened to the peace dividends? You certainly can't find them in our $400 billion military budget.

The president's war on terror is a flop. Terror is merely a tactic, not an entity, and those who employ the tactic of terror do so because of American policies that they find highly offensive. Bush, of course, has made no effort whatsoever to change any policies and in fact has aggravated the situation by writing a blank check to the Israeli government to kill and brutalize as many Palestinians as it wishes.

Our hypocritical support of Israel is one of the Middle East's main beefs about the country. Whatever the Israelis do is OK; whatever the Palestinians do is wrong.

The secret of the game afoot is that Mr. Bush has no desire to win the war on terrorism. What he wants is perpetual war, because that means perpetually enhancing the power of government.

Some years ago, a book circulated that purported to be an exposé of a meeting held by the nation's elite. They were alarmed at the fall of communism and needed to find a new enemy to maintain the war state that has been America since 1941. They chose Islam.

While I expect the book was apocryphal and no such formal meeting took place, it is nevertheless necessary to always have an enemy at the gate if you want to maintain a powerful central government and equally powerful military-industrial complex. That's a trick as old as the Roman Empire.

First it was fascism, then communism and now Islam. In the meantime, our own country grows less and less free and more and more in debt while those who profit from the war state rake in their billions of dollars.

You as a citizen ought not to fall for this fearmongering. All we have to do is cut the apron strings from Israel and pull our troops out of the Middle East, where they have no business being anyway, and Middle East terrorism directed toward us would evaporate overnight. We have no natural conflict with the Arab world or it with us, and most assuredly Islam is not our enemy.

People seem to forget that Islam has been around since the 8th century A.D. The original Arab empire filled the vacuum caused by the fall of Rome. The Ottoman Empire had nothing to do with spreading Islam per se. Islam opposes coerced conversions, despite what some American ignoramuses might have told you.

The truth is, the only enemies we have are those our own government is manufacturing to justify a powerful central government that is sucking the wealth and liberty out of this country like some monstrous leech.

There is no need to be $6 trillion in debt, there is no need to maintain a $400 billion defense budget, and there is darn sure no need to give up our liberty in the name of security.

© 2003 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969-71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column three times a week for King Features, which is carried on Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner.

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