Saturday, October 30, 2004

Cheney's Fear-Based Community

Headline on CBS News about Osama tape: Feds: Tape May Be Attack Signal

This article and this unprofessional lack of coordination on our nation's security just pisses me off. The poorly written article doesn't help, but it illustrates the problem. The article gives us multiple conflicting sources and a headline that picks the source that offers the scariest scenario. Who are we to believe, UNNAMED OFFICIAL ONE, UNNAMED OFFICIAL TWO, TOM RIDGE, THE FBI or the HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICE?

First, one UNNAMED official says it "could be a signal for an attack". Then another UNNAMED official countermands the other UNNAMED official. "There is no immediate indication that the tape of the al Qaeda leader offered any sign of an impending strike," said a U.S. government official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Why did they need to be anonymous? What are UNNAMED ONE and UNNAMED TWO afraid of? Is it because UNNAMED ONE is a Republican plant and he is scaring of getting busted for lying? Or is UNNAMED TWO a dedicated good person in the department of HLS who is sick and tired of seeing our nation's security being sold out for political purposes?

Then we go to the NAMED sources and NAMED agencies:

Ridge "urged Americans to go ahead with plans to vote in Tuesday's elections without undue concern." then two paragraphs later we see this from the FBI and the Homeland Security Department. "We remain concerned about al Qaeda's interest in attacking the American homeland, and we cannot discount the possibility that the video may be intended to promote violence or serve as a signal for an attack," according to the memo sent late Friday from the FBI and the Homeland Security Department.

Gee Tom, are you on top of this or not? Are your people rebelling or are you softening your message in the media because otherwise we could see this scare for the political event that it is. And here is another thing. Why do we even NEED TO KNOW? Aren't the people who are really on the front lines the only ones who really can help?

Just how helpful have those color codes been Tom? I'll bet they sell a few more rolls of Tums and duct tape, but does scaring the public actually get you any great tips any more?

I'm tired of this whole administration's Fear Based Program Activities. To quote a great book, "Fear is the mind killer" If people are scared they aren't thinking, they are reacting. This administration knows it and keeps on doing it no matter how many times they have been proved wrong.

Maybe politicians have always used fear to get people to do what they want. And the people who support them know this. In computer sales a previous generation's prevailing wisdom was, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." A prevailing wisdom in this administration is "Nobody ever got fired for ratching up the fear level".

This is marketing of the basest level. And the press can always find someone who will play the fear card. Would they ever come down on someone who is scaring the American public? No. Because Cheney is the fear monger in chief. Why isn't he ever busted by the media for constantly beating the fear drum? Because he still claims "special knowledge". You can't fight special knowledge and vague threats.

How to beat it? Point out all the times he was wrong? Then he could play the "We stopped it in time." card. He has always cultivated the perception of, "I REALLY know what is going on but I can't tell you because it would jeopardize national security, and you wouldn't want to do THAT, now would you Mr. Journalist?" And the sad thing is that SOMETIMES that might be true. But also sometimes that might be wrong and a lie. As long as he keeps cultivating the vague threat perception (that frankly can ALWAYS be there) he gets away with out hard questioning.

I'd like to see him questioned to the point where he actually has to SAY, "I can't tell you because it would be a threat to national security." because then if we find out later that he played that card and was lying, we could see just how craven he was with such a powerful tool.

It doesn't have to be this way. What if they asked us to be brave? Think how different a tone that would set in the face of a true threat.

"Osama Bin Laden had threatened us. He wants us to be afraid. Do not be afraid. We're American's damn it. We are smart, tough and we won't be cowed; by Osama Bin Laden OR Dick Cheney.


Blogger ellroon said...

Good job pointing out the stupidity of fear tactics. How much more we could have done after 9/11 if we had had a leader who drew people together, gave them a purpose, focused on the specific evil and hunted it down. 'Go shopping' does not inspire patriotism.
Tom Ridge is a useless tool, and no one pays attention to his embarrassed ramblings anymore. We could blow the lid off of the color chart, and no one would blink because they have called wolf too many times for too many political situations.
Cheney is just a manipulative evil man. We will find out someday how much he got to be president while Dubya upheld the facade.

12:24 PM  
Blogger spocko said...

'Go shopping' does not inspire patriotism.

HA! Good one.

"Darling, the terror warning is orange and I don't have a THING to wear to match it tonight at the club!"

Imagine if Bush decided to make the Hunt for Terriorists as exciting as the TV show, Alias.
People wouldn't get bored if they kept us in the James Bond world of counter terrorism.
But he chose the old cold war narrative. Go after a state, they have good targets.

P.S. Thanks for posting Ellroon!

2:25 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


12:55 AM  

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