Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fearmongering from the gut

By Michael J.W. Stickings

John Amato is right. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff should resign.

But he won't. And he won't be held to account by his superiors in the White House because this sort of thing is exactly what they want from him -- and what they want generally. Not proactive measures to bolster homeland security, but fearmongering for partisan political purposes -- not to mention, from the Bush-Cheney perspective, for purely self-interested purposes. Bush and Cheney, and the Republican Party, do well when the American people are on edge, when a terrorist attack seems to be, or when they are told that it may be, imminent. The culture of fear is their domain, the politics of irrationality.

Remember Tom Ridge's "phony terror alerts," John reminds us. Ah, yes. How the colour turned orange and red whenever such fear was required, whenever a diversion was needed, some new threat to wipe the bad news, whatever it was, away. The media played along, of course, so trusting were they, so fearful themselves -- fearful of looking unpatriotic, fearful of bad ratings, that is, not so much fearful of terrorism.

And what did Ridge's successor, Chertoff, say to warrant this call for his resignation? He said this, according to the Chicago Tribune: "I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk. Summertime seems to be appealing to them" -- to al Qaeda, that is. "We do worry that they are rebuilding their activities."

And his basis for such a bold assertion, for such "worry"? New intelligence? Suspicious chatter? A confession, perhaps from a tortured detainee?

Er, no. For Chertoff, it's "a gut feeling," that's all.

Which is outrageous, is it not -- and not a little irresponsible? This is the homeland security secretary warning Americans of an increase in the terrorist threat, playing on some of their deepest fears, based not on genuine intelligence assessments, but on a "feeling" -- and one in his "gut," what's more.

The American people should be outraged by this, and they should be appalled. And they should refuse to be so manipulated. For that -- the manipulation of the American people by way of the fabrication of a war on terror -- is, we now know so well, the Bush-Cheney way.

Their underling, Chertoff, may or may not have misspoke, and he may now take back what he said, and claim that he never did mean it that way, context and all, but in truth he was just doing what has been done all along, including by his superiors. And that is to seek political advantage by scaring the shit out of the American people.

For that he should resign. But for that, too, for all that, the whole lot of them, Bush and Cheney included, should be removed from office.

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  • Perhaps he just needs to take some Pepto-Bismol for his gut feeling.

    By Blogger Edward Copeland, at 4:06 AM  

  • And we should, after all, remember what guts are full of.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 9:35 AM  

  • Man, Cobert is going to have a field day with this...So my "gut feeling" tells me!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:22 PM  

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