The Random Ruminations and Observations of a Curmudgeon

03 September 2006


While reading Atrios, who quotes Glenn Greenwald, it struck me that we have been there before, although before, the fears were a bit more rational.  The early fears of the cold war, right after the Soviets acquired atomic weapons, and in the era of the “hordes” of Chinese crossing the border in Korea, were hysterical.  The hysterics led to McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee.  It led to personal bomb shelters in the early sixties.  It led to practicing “duck and cover” in grade schools, when anyone with sense knew that if a nuclear explosion occurred near enough, “duck and cover” was useless and if it were far away, such procedures were unnecessary.  Gradually, although the Soviets remained rather belligerent, the hysteria subsided.

The post-9/11 era is similar.  The hysteria is, as largely in the 50s, Republican generated and it is greedily ingested by those unfamiliar with cognitive procedures.  The enemy is now the great undifferentiated bulk that is Islam.  And how inconvenient it is that the bogeyman is not a singular horror, but a mixture of Arab, Pakistani, Irani, Turkish (who, of course, get a pass) and (let’s not forget the largest Islamic nation) Indonesian nationalities that practice two, historically incompatible forms of Islam.  As a result, rather than focusing on the small, radical Wahabi sect exemplified by Osama bin Laden, which is too small to generate an appropriate hysterical response, the Bushies have expanded it to all of Islam, most of which is not radicalized against Western civilization.  

For this administration it has never really been a war on terror.  It has been use of 9/11 to fight wars for oil and wars for votes and wars for the misplaced visceral delight that, along with intense hatred, drives the wingnuts