RANGER AGAINST WAR: Fear and Loathing in America <

Monday, December 01, 2008

Fear and Loathing in America

In short, I was afraid
--The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock
T.S. Eliot


The Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) says more about the U.S. than it does about al-Qaeda. We know that al-Qaeda are scum, but how readily we got mucking around with them!

Why? Because for 50 years America has been weaned on
fear. Fear of the Yellow Peril, the Red Menace, the Bomb (Duck and Cover!), liberals, Socialists, intellectuals, anti-gun activists, terrorists and The Other. The national product of America is fear, and gigantic industries owe their success to it, from arms manufacturers to security firms.

We are fearful over our food supply; fearful of being marginalized by fleeting youth and wrinkles. We suffer fear of freedom, fear or flying, fear of nanotechnology, fear of love. We are fearful that we have been too discriminating, fearful that we have not been discriminating enough.
Fear we are overinsured or underinsured; overarmed or underarmed; taking too many vitamins, or too little. Just damn fearful.

Ronald Reagan gave us the pitchman's sell on fear, and international terrorism was sold as a Kremlin product, propagating Joe McCarthy's discredited spiel. As a movie star, Reagan delivered unreality selling unreality. He was Baudrillard's dream man.

Rigor was not part of the program. A latent religiosity which teaches sheepiness and obedience to the Father is
. The Far Right's agenda is to keep the flock safe from infidels. Oddly, that is the same agenda touted by their sworn nemesis, al-Qaeda.

The Far Right has never been much troubled by reality, but here is some from the morbidity tables: American men have a far greater chance of contracting AIDS through casual unprotected sex than being the victim of al-Qaeda terrorism. Obesity, drinking and smoking will get you sooner than terrorists. So will driving a car. Golfers have greater chance of being struck by lightening on the course than of being a victim of terrorism.

A new President is about to assume office, and what is his philosophy on terrorism? I like only one of President Bush's wars. Ramp it up in Afghanistan even though the Taliban has no agenda to project their leadership beyong Afghanistan and the boarder areas of Pakistan.

Ranger sees this as a Paki problem, not an American policy issue.
Obama was not elected to wage a war to protect Pakistan from the Taliban.

The Afghan venture was initially launched to defeat the Taliban, thereby neutralizing al-Qaeda safe havens.
This has been accomplished, so why not bring the troops home? Afghanistan and Iraq are not the unilateral concerns of the U.S. If they present a danger, then this should be addressed in a world forum. This would add legitimacy to the effort and spread the cost.

What does the average Afghani and Iraqi hope for and desire? Probably the same thing the Reagan era Communists and Sandinistas wanted, and the Vietcong and North Vietnamese in the 1st and 2nd Indochina Wars: respect, warm homes, water, decent food, freedom of religion and freedom from foreign domination.
Their fears are real, and we are what they fear.

What do Americans desire? Health care access, jobs, retirements, vacations, Stuff and more Stuff, and safety and freedom from fear. Probably FDR's Four Freedoms covers it well: Freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

While our standard of living dwarfs that of our nemeses and our might is awesome, it cannot save us from fear, because fear is irrational.
We place the source of our fear outside of us, as some external threat, while the real threat to America's survival and well-being is our own government.

Terrorists cannot destroy our way of life, but the mismanagement of our economy can. The U.S. government's actions and inactions are pushing into dangerous ground. Without the gross federal government's overreaction to terrorism, that threat would have been manageable.

Ranger has not met one taxpayer lately that is optimistic about the country's future or his own personal welfare. The actions and non-actions of the George Bush administration are the greatest threats this nation has witnessed from within in recent memory.

Terrorism is a bump in the road, while the economy has careened off the road and appears to be out of anybody's control. Terrorism will never be "defeated," though it can be confronted and dealt with. Corruption and a failed economy can, however, destroy a nation.

Our rogue leadership is more to be feared than the terrorist threat.

--Lisa and Jim

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Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

tangentially relevant...... just a matter of time before the pros speak up........

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 4:44:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

ghost dansing,

Very relevant -- Ranger has been saying this for years:

"How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans."

"Murderers like Zarqawi can kill us, but they can't force us to change who we are. We can only do that to ourselves."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 8:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

there is/was an entire dimension of critique on this Bush administration that was the critique of the professional warrior.

war is never something that is a great option. and Iraq was a strategic blunder, and a war of choice rather than necessity.

given that, when the American military is committed to a war, competence and professionalism should rule the day.

regardless of the Defense rhetoric of the Republican Party, their political team was demonstrably incompetent, starting with cashing Shinseki and extending to corruption of basic American tactics, techniques and procedures.

the use of mercenaries is problematic, though emblematic of Republican corporatist ideology.

their approach to prisoners and interrogation will haunt U.S. Military and Diplomatic affairs for decades......

the military in America is led by the Political leadership.

in this case, that leadership was purely incompetent, short sited and ineffective.

the myth of Republican supremacy in matters of Defense and the Military should be challenged.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 4:58:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

Actually, Ranger, I suspect that way too many Americans would add some freedoms to Roosevelt's four.

Just off the top of my head, I'd add:

1. Freedom to steal with impunity from other Americans, using the tax code or "good business practices."

2. Freedom to steal from other Americans through government action following business failures.

3. Freedom to push around other Americans who don't happen to have power, money or political connections.

4. Freedom to impost one's moral standards on others.

5. Freedom to impose one's religious beliefs on others.

6. Freedom to feel superior to people in other nations because, well, just because we're Americans.

7. Freedom to kill people in other nations under the guise of ensuring American security, or, alternatively, to save them from themselves.

I'm sure there are many others, but you get the point. Fact is, we've become a nation of navel-gazers and busybodies, preoccupied with self and far more interested in the activities of others than with taking hard looks at ourselves.

Decadent, yes. Shining beacon, no.

Friday, December 5, 2008 at 12:44:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Let's add to your list---Freedom to ship US jobs overseas and then say the govt will create jobs for the unemployed/redundant workers .jim

Friday, December 5, 2008 at 10:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Range, I think the war in Afghanistan is a waste too, based on lies. It was Russia's Vietnam. I believe that even Genghis Khan had sense enough to stay out of there (A'stan). Also, I heard that after Russia got out, a lot of Russian vets came home as junkies. Not only that, I heard that Vietnam vets from the US were even going to Russia to counsel the distressed Russian vets (so much for the Cold War "boogieman" philosophy). All the US did that I can see was to take the Soviet Vietnam role. Worst of all, we (not the PEOPLE, but the GOV'T) taught the Muslim crew how to fvck up a superpower (very smart!), which I find treasonous. The longer that troops stay there, I believe we'll see the same thing--troops coming back addicted to BOTH legal and ILlegal drugs, broken, etc. It'll just end up costing us just too much. Get the handcuffs ready for Sssssssssssam, get the cologne ready for Odie Cologny, and don't forget to turn off the sun.

Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 8:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

This Ranger just doesn't get it- I'll NEVER understand why US soldiers are killing people for a fictional belief. jim

Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 11:28:00 AM GMT-5  

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