Third Party & Independents Archives

Freedom or Fear

Why should the US be any different from Lebanon, Israel, Ireland, and other countries suffering from terror attacks? Could the real goal of terrorists be to cause the US to give up its freedom and live in fear like their own populations?

If that’s the case, “they” have already won.

Fighting terrorism is not like fighting other types of crime, yet that's the way we're approaching it. By their very nature, terror attacks are unpredictable and frightening. Fear is the true intent of terrorism, not blowing up monuments to capitalism. Terrorists don't need to do the actual deed, they just need to make us feel that violence is imminent and inevitable. They intend drain our treasury by making us falsely believe we can spend our way to national security. I understand that many people are frightened and that alone proves that the terrorists have done their job without any known attack on US soil since 9/11. Indeed, global acts of terrorism reinforce the fear many of us continue to feel here in the US.

Do we feel any safer because John Ashcroft has done his job by enforcing some of the draconian provisions of the Patriot Act? I think not. We just gave up some freedoms for a false sense of security. Based on past performance, do we actually believe the CIA, FBI, and other intelligence agencies can do the job? Do we actually believe that small, nimble and clever terrorist cells made up of nameless, faceless individuals already woven into the fabric of our society can be found, prosecuted and jailed by Bureaucratic law enforcement agencies? Are we up to such a monumental task when we can't even prevent snipers and high school kids with easy access to guns from acting on their deadly impulses?

I don't think so. Why? Past performance of law enforcement in the War on Drugs is a good indication. The failed Drug War is a good parallel to the war on terrorism. Like terrorism, illicit drug use is a global concern that affects life and the quality of life around the world. Yet, drug use has increased even after spending many billions of dollars and filling our prisons with small time offenders. We're not treating the root of the problem, just the symptoms.

Our open and relatively free society rightfully hampers law enforcement from protecting us from acts of terrorism. I feel that to be free from terrorism the way that Bush wants is the beginning of the road to fascism and constant fear.

US law enforcement has always been the code of the west. It's reactionary and it's not doing anything different than what we are currently doing to "eliminate" terrorism. We are treating the symptoms while we ignore the root problems. Instead of promoting tolerance, cooperation and inclusion or working to eliminate racism, poverty, overpopulation and all the other ills that plague the modern world's human population, we seek only to destroy those who we believe want to destroy us. I guess that's the dark side of human nature.

We can make war and fight all we want. We can build the biggest jails and fill them with people the government believes are dangerous and undesirable. If your skin is a different color or you look funny, we better build some mighty big jails. We can do whatever it takes, by any means necessary, to rout out terrorism. It will undeniably change our society in ways most people don't want. I believe that is the understated goal of terrorism. We will constantly feel under siege, not so much from actual terrorist acts but because we will always be looking over our shoulder. No amount of policing and intelligence will prevent fear. In fact, the loss of freedoms because of the war on terrorism will increase our anxiety and feeling of powerlessness.

We will escalate our efforts to combat terrorism with preemptive strikes against our "enemies". We will threaten our global allies unless they agree with us. We will spend ourselves into debt while ignoring serious social and economic problems at home. Even after all that, we won't feel any safer. Indeed we will feel less safe and lose our freedoms along the way.

That's what terrorists want.

Posted by grover at July 18, 2003 8:52 AM