Friday, February 24, 2012

Scared People Running for President

Listening to the Republican candidates, you'd think the US was under siege. Rick Santorm introduced himself in the last debate by saying,
I’m Rick Santorum. And we have a lot of troubles around the world, as you see, the Middle East in flames. . . .
New Gingrich later added,
You live in a world of total warfare. . . . We live in an age when we have to genuinely worry about nuclear weapons going off in our own cities . . . . I believe this is the most dangerous president on national security grounds in American history.
Actually the age of total warfare was 1916 to 1945; we haven't had one since, and I see no prospect of one in the future.

This intense fear of Muslim terrorists is crazy. I can only think of two reasons for people to talk like this. Either they are desperately searching for some sort of issue to run on, or they have a deep-seated need for enemies they can hate and fear. I suspect both.

Terrorists do pose some risk to our lives and limbs. If they really try, they can kill Americans, as they proved on 9-11. But the risk is vastly smaller than, for example, the risk of riding in a car to work every day. We inflicted much more death and expense on ourselves by our foolish invasion of Iraq than al Qaeda ever manged to cause us. As far as a risk to our national survival, or the survival of our way of life-- please. There is no such risk. We have more nuclear weapons than al Qaeda has soldiers.

Yet in America we continue to act as if al Qaeda or other Muslim radicals pose a terrible threat to us. We are still chasing the Taliban around Afghanistan's mountains, still using drones to attack our enemies wherever we can find them, still cozying up to nasty dictators in central Asia and thuggish regimes in Africa, all part of the "War on Terror." It is more a "War of Terror," one we wage because we are frightened for no good reason. We subject ourselves to absurd anti-terrorism measures, torture our prisoners, and spend hundreds of billions of dollars on "security." We should wise up, relax, bring our soldiers home, and work on solving real problems like cancer or unemployment.

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