terrorism – WordNet
n : the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence)against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear.
On the fifth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 it is important that as a part of our remembrance we consider the impact of those attacks on our liberty, freedom, system of justice and most importantly our state of mind. In pursuing thoughtful consideration one cannot accomplish this task without recognizing the core intent of Osama Bin-Laden and his agents in carrying out their attacks. The intent was to instill a permanent state of fear in the lives of every American. Despite the bold claims of our President, his administration, and the republican controlled congress, that the terrorists would not accomplish their goal, it seems they have. With four acts of terrorism committed in one day, al Qaeda launched us down the road of intimidating fear, from which we have yet to recover. Our constant state of fear has been perpetuated, in part, by President Bush and the republicans in Congress.
In response to those dreadful attacks, our government went after al Qaeda and their state sponsors in Afghanistan, the Taliban. In that effort, the worldwide community agreed that it was appropriate for us to respond as we did and joined in the effort to accomplish our goals in Afghanistan. Instead of finishing the job, and capturing Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush chose to abandon our effort before it was completed, and attempt to force democracy on Iraq. A county run by Saddam Hussein, a dictator who was once our ally. Bush and his administration told us that a war in Iraq was a critical part of the war on terror. We were told that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that were an imminent threat on our national security. It turns out that not only were those assertions wrong, but the administration of George W. Bush knew they were wrong, but pursued the war anyway.
In a press conference on August 21, 2006 President Bush made a surprising admission. While trying to explain how the “Freedom Agenda in Iraq was inspired by the attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush was interrupted with the question; What did Iraq have to do with 9/11? “Nothing,” Bush defiantly answered. Watch it.
To justify the war, Bush informed Congress on March 19, 2003 that acting against Iraq was consistent with “continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”On Friday, September 8th the Senate Intelligence committee released their second report on the intelligence used to justify the Iraq invasion and occupation. The report concluded, “There’s no evidence Saddam Hussein had a relationship with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his al Qaeda associates. The report undercuts President Bush’s justification for going to war. It discloses for the first time an October 2005 CIA assessment that prior to the war Saddam’s government “did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates,” Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, top Democrat on the committee said, “The administration, exploited the deep sense of insecurity among Americans in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, leading a large majority of Americans to believe — contrary to the intelligence assessments at the time — that Iraq had a role in the 9/11 attacks.”
Yet in an interview on CBS with Katie Couric September 6th Bush continued to try to link the occupation of Iraq to the war on terror.
You have said we can’t cut and run on more than one occasion. We have to stay until we win. Otherwise, we’ll be fighting the terrorists here at home on our own streets. So what do you mean exactly by that, Mr. President?
Well, I mean that a defeat in Iraq will embolden the enemy and will provide the enemy– more opportunity to train, plan, to attack us. That’s what I mean. There– it’s– you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror. I believe it. As I told you, Osama bin Laden believes it. But the American people– have gotta understand that a defeat in Iraq– in other words, if this government there fails, the terrorists will be emboldened, the radicals will topple moderate governments.
Instilling a Sense of Fear
In addition to the war waged upon the people of Iraq under false pretenses, the Bush gang pushed through the formation of the Department of Homeland Security. Allegedly, this new agency was supposed to unify the various agencies responsible for national security under one roof, thereby providing enhanced security capabilities. One of the things Homeland Security did was create a terror alert system. This new system established various levels of security threat assessment that would be communicated to the public and other government agencies to increase security awareness and preparedness as threats warranted.
The unintended benefit for Bush and company was that this system established a propaganda mechanism that could be used to generate or shore up political support for administration policies as needed. Every time the security threat level was increased, support for the President and his policies improved. The administration quickly recognized this fact and spared no effort to capitalize on it. From the first of these terror alerts in February 2002, until the election of November 2004 the national treat level was raised to the level orange “high risk of terrorist attack, six times.” Former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge has complained since his departure from the administration that may times the evidence used to justify the raising of the threat level was weak and that his objections were overruled by other administration officials, including Attorney General John Ashcroft.
“There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, For that?” Tom Ridge, Former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
The effect of fear on human response has been well documented in a little known subfield of social psychology called Terror Management Theory. In short, it has been shown that terror, specifically the fear of their own death causes people to react in ways that they would not under normal circumstances. An example of this effect is the willingness of some people to give up some of their basic liberties and freedom in order to be safer, even when the liberty they gave up had nothing to do with their own safety. It also explains why more than 50 million Americans acted against their own self interest and voted for President Bush in 2004. They chose to keep the devil they knew because he made them afraid that any other decision would make them less safe.
Another poignant example of the Bush administrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s use of fear to raise their support was the statement of Vice President Dick Cheney during a campaign forum eight weeks before the November 2004 election, and widely carried by the news media.
“It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again, that we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we’ll fall back into the pre-9/11 mindset, if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal and that we are not at war.”
Then there was the ad that the Bush campaign ran about the same time. It featured wolves hiding in the shadows of a dark forest. The announcer ominously read the script:
“In an increasingly dangerous world;
Even after the first attack on America;
John Kerry and the liberals in congress voted to slash America’s intelligence operations by 6 billion dollars;
Cuts so deep they would have weakened America’s defenses.
And weakness attracts those who are waiting to do America harm.”
At this point you see wolves lounging in the grass, out in the open, rise and approach.
The message was clear. Be afraid, be very afraid. Oddly, this is the exact result that the terrorist wanted to occur, and it was facilitated on their behalf very effectively by Bush, Cheney, and their campaign. View Bush Ad “Wolves”
Well folks, they’re still doing it. Two months out from the midterm elections Bush and his administration are ramping up the fear. They are shamelessly trying to use the horrific attacks of 9/11 to promote their agenda by trying to convince the American people that change will bring another attack. They are calling the majority of Americans who oppose the Iraq occupation fascist appeasers. When Ned Lamont defeated Joe Lieberman for the Democratic nomination for Senate in Connecticut; Cheney was on the airwaves August 9th talking about Lieberman’s loss and said:
“The thing that’s partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task. And when we see the Democratic Party reject one of its own, a man they selected to be their vice presidential nominee just a few short years ago, it would seem to say a lot about the state the party is in today if that’s becoming the dominant view of the Democratic Party, the basic, fundamental notion that somehow we can retreat behind our oceans and not be actively engaged in this conflict and be safe here at home, which clearly we know we won’t — we can’t be. So we have to be actively engaged not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but on a global basis if we’re going to succeed in prevailing in this long-term conflict.”
The wolves are back
I fully expect a baseless terror alert between now and the November elections. It is their pattern, and it has worked so well for them that they will not be able to resist the temptation to use it again, this time as last, as an act of desperation.
The definition of terrorism is the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear. Based upon their pattern of behavior these guys are acting like terrorists; they’re talking like terrorists; and they’re creating a sense of fear to promote their political goals like terrorists. They may not be blowing up buildings in the United States, but they are committing acts of terrorism against the people of the United States of America.
On March 9, 1954 Edward R. Murrow reported to the American people on the activities of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. In his report, he challenged the unwarranted and unjustified attacks upon U.S. Citizens in the name of stopping the spread of communism. In his closing remarks of his historic broadcast Murrow called attention to what was at stake for all of us if we remained silent and failed to stand up for the rights of all citizens of the United States of America. By simply replacing the references to Senator McCarthy in Murrow’s remarks with President Bush the reality of what we face today and what we should remember from our history becomes strikingly clear.
“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine; and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose President Bush’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of President Bush have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it and rather successfully. Cassius was right. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.
Good night, and good luck.”
Osama bin Laden is still at large; there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; Saddam Hussein was not a threat to the United States; our ports are not any more safe today than on 9/11; in addition to having our phone calls secretly monitored without warrant and secret CIA prisons overseas, we must also worry about the hair gel in our carryon luggage and the next threat that we must fight over there rather than here. For those who may have been sleeping, that would be Iran, the rogue nation that supports terrorists and wants to develop a nuclear bomb to use against us.Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his first inaugural address,
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Remember that advice as you remember the tragedy of September 11, 2001 and when you vote on November 7, 2006.