The Tyranny of Fear Itself

Random Lengths News | May 30, 2007
The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1938 message to Congress proposing Monopoly Investigation.

Although most of us are most familiar with Roosevelt's most famous quote, "that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," I truly wish we had that kind of leadership now in the White House that understood this idea rather than the little minds of Bush and Cheney running around calling for "fear of fear," echoing the Cold War admonitions that if we don't fight them over there, we will have to fight them here. This is the kind of narrow-minded leadership that we have come to disrespect and distrust from Bush & Company that distorts, exaggerates and cherry-picks intelligence reports, twists the truth and then hides behind the shield of national security to achieve its predetermined policy based on faith, fear and fantasy -- and not much else. Jimmy Carter got it right last week when he called this administration the worst in the nation's history and why he later apologized we may never know. I wouldn't have!

Cheney's fear-mongering rose to a new high (or low) with his recent speech to the graduating class of West Point saying, "Al Qaeda's leadership has said they have the right to 'kill four million Americans, two million of them children, and to exile twice as many and to wound and cripple thousands.' We know they are looking for ways of doing just that -- by plotting in secret, by slipping into the country, and exploiting any vulnerability they can find." He seems to have left out the bit about how our occupation of Iraq and the indiscriminate killing of tens of thousands of civilians have contributed to the Al Qaeda recruitment and the strengthening of the insurgent resistance to US occupation there.

What is left out of this speech is the pre war intelligence reports that warned Cheney and Bush of just this kind of reaction and the mounting obstacles to "creating a democracy" while occupying this nation at gun point. The obvious point being that you can never convince a people to give up bullets for ballots when you are still shooting at them!

Cheney goes on, "Our government has used every legitimate tool to counter the activities of an enemy that likely has cells inside our own country. We've improved our security arrangements, reorganized intelligence capabilities, surveilled and interrogated the enemy." Team America under the Bush/Cheney command has also used its arsenal of expressly illegal tools, of torture, warrantless domestic surveillance, extraordinary rendition, exclusion from the military code of justice for American mercenaries, murder (in multiple cases) of innocent civilians and the elimination of habeas corpus for thousands of suspects and complete disregard for the Geneva Conventions of War. Still they have only prosecuted one terrorist since 911, killed only a couple of the top leadership of Al Qaeda and apparently lost interest in arresting Osama bin Laden. This while we have sacrificed over 3,459 soldiers and brought home thousands more wounded and maimed by this war, destroyed one of the historic bastions of civilization, which has led to the killing of more than 135,000 Iraqi civilians (The British Lancet study put the figure of violent deaths at 600,000 last year). And this is all supposed to make us sleep better at night and not fear the fear of mad Islamic Jihadists?

On this Memorial Day I feel nothing but a deep sadness that these young West Point cadets who will be thrown into this madness like so much cannon fodder -- ostensibly to protect not our democracy but more likely the profits of the oil monopoly -- be they Exxon Mobil or Saudi Arabian or the war profits of Halliburton and Blackwater. This is not some glorious and righteous war. It is the logical end result of global free marketeering that equates free trade with democracy, no matter what the costs may be, human or economic!

What is even worse is that all of these Neocons -- Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and now Gates and most of the others -- never spent one day in battle, risking their lives for God and country, nor are they sending their children to fight and die in the desert of Iraq and Afghanistan! While I am getting very bored with the "stay the course" refrain, I have to ask myself what kind of insanity has led us to this precipice of abdicating our fundamental liberties for the rantings of these madmen in the White House?

Why is it that Congress hasn't yet found the courage to impeach Gonzales, Cheney, Rumsfeld and finally Bush himself for lying to Congress and breaching their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution?

Unlike Cindy Sheehan, who recently announced she was stepping back from her role as mother of the anti-war movement and camp leader at Crawford, Texas, I find myself more determined now, more committed to the premise of tearing down the walls protecting these traitors who were falsely elected, perverted the Constitution and betrayed this nation for personal power and corporate profit. I stand now more adamantly opposed to this war, its illegal and illegitimate prosecution, and the continued subversion of the political process to support it.

In the end, I sincerely hope that Dick Cheney will hang by his own words, "We know ... that when people are given the chance to live in freedom, most of them will make that choice." And it is now our choice whether to live under this tyranny of fear and perpetual war or to choose to be free from Bush and Cheney's perversion of law and justice.

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Founded in 1979 as a counterbalance to the conservative, corporate- owned daily paper, Random Lengths News draws on the rich history of the Los Angeles Harbor Area. The name harkens back to a description of the lumber that used to...
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