Friday, August 11, 2006

The two faces of militarism

"Islamic fascists... will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom."

"This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11."

These two comments were made by the same person (Pres. Bush) on the same day.

It also underscores the fundamental tension with the militarists' strategy: they want us to be afraid so they can smear the opposition, silence dissent and have an excuse to ram through another foreign excursion. This is why Sen. Joe Lieberman said terrorism represents a bigger threat than Nazism or the Soviet Empire and that his primary election loss is a victory for the terrorists. This is why Iran's head of state is compared to Hitler and prominent anti-war Americans to Stalinists.

(Funny how calling the president 'Hitler' or 'fascist' sends people into conniption fits but calling his opponents 'Stalinists' doesn't even make the radar screen)

But the militarists also want to transmit the image of competence so that people will trust their judgement in those future foreign excursions and assaults against civil liberties.

That's why in the same breath, they swear up and down that the Iraq aggression has made us safer while insisting that we are in the opening stages of World War III. It's a tricky balancing act and considering how good as they usually are at such tasks, it's reassuring that they are having trouble selling the public this bill of goods.

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