Sunday, May 31, 2009

Department Of Fear

T'was last week when the big O stated that after 9/11 certain decisions were made in fear rather than in foresight. He said this with the usual implications that his administration is far more intelligent, nuanced, and in general more sober and cooly collected than those knuckle-draggers in the previous administration. All too predictable but it set me to thinking about how the word and concept "fear" is in such bad odor these days.

FDR averred, in what is arguably his most famous quote "All we have to fear, is fear itself". I have always thought this was a statement of truly breathtaking puerility. It is the null set, without meaning, and just plain stupid for there is one heck of lot out there in the world to which a response of fear is entirely warranted. Lately though progressives, and even some conservatives (although to a far lesser extent), have rendered "fear" into one of those inchoate pejoratives that are used to bash an opposing opinion. Any expression of serious concern, about any subject, is portrayed as "fear-mongering" as if fear is somehow now an emotion unworthy of serious intelligent people, such as themselves of course.

The "fear" in FDR's case was the public unease over seemingly intractable decline of economic activity in the country despite, or because of, Franklin's alphabet-soup programmatic ministrations. This is not entirely an unwarranted view since economies can easily be severely affected by the investing public's emotional state which can make a small market downturn into a panicked selling spree that perversely achieves what an ordinary small downturn may well not have portended. The Big O, and countless others, have extended this metaphoric chestnut to include, well, just about everything else.

There was, after 9/11, and there still is to put it very mildly, a great whacking lot of things about which extreme concern, or fear if you will, was entirely appropriate. A rundown is not necessary but to aver that we should not have then and should not now be "afraid" of, say, Islamist fanaticism is to engage in willful ignorance and/or over reliance on multi-culty feely-goody we-are-the-world modern progressive pieties.

Just as there was plenty to fear from the Third Reich and Japanese Empire in 1942 there is plenty to fear about today's irrational nuclear bomb toting thugocrats in North Korea and Iran not to mention a grubby parade of both state and non-state actors who threaten peace and freedom around the globe. Now naturally it is possible to overreact to such threats but to say that fear of them is an illegitimate basis for policy is childish political posturing.

It is waggishly said that the modern progressive's idea of an enemy is someone to which we have not yet sufficiently apologized. In other words there is no hatred of the U.S. which cannot be ameliorated by official mea culpas of sufficient intensity and finesse. This seems to be one of the defining attributes of what is called "soft power" these days. Since this implies a nearly complete eschewing of what used to the epitome of "hard" power, the threat of the employment of the U.S military Big Stick, it is sure to turn out that soft power is only a Planck length away from no power at all. Soft power may thrill the European Union but will only receive sneering laughter from the likes of Ahmedinejad and Kim Jung Il. It will also signal further cultural weakness deserving of renewed vigor from the likes of Al Queda and Hamas.

I can just imagine the response of the hip, evolved, nuanced O-Team to the events of 9/11-----

After the obligatory wringing of hands the administration leaped into action by seating a "Blue-Ribbon" commission, composed of experts across the political spectrum from hard left to slightly left of center, to study the causes of the attack. After three years of cogitation a report was issued which recommended the immediate deployment of a task force with two main objectives.

First our Military Airlift Command was to be used to fly in several battalions of diplomats and PTSD therapists to the relevant Middle-Eastern precincts. The job of the diplomats was to locate and personally apologize to the relatives of the brave pilots of the aircraft who were driven to such unsavory extremes by the long history of U.S. policies that have oppressed Arab peoples and given support to the reviled Zionist Entity.

Brigades of PTSD experts attempted to help the relatives "process" their feelings of grief and shock over the unfortunate loss of their loved ones by using the full armamentarium of modern psychotherapy. Free personal and group sessions for a period of at least twenty years were offered by the U.S. government in atonement for its manifest crimes against the Umma.

The second objective of the task force was to transport, with full logistical support, several thousand specially trained legal experts to help distraught relatives file class-action suits against Boeing Corp. for being criminally negligent in building commercial airliners which would unaccountably burst into massive fireballs when inadvertently flown into skyscrapers. Settlement of the suits resulted in the establishment of a Fund Of National Apology which was financed by a ten million dollar tax per aircraft built by Boeing, and of course all other aircraft firms whose products failed the crucial safety test of being able to impact large buildings at 400 knots with no loss of life.

This fund, eventually totaling 500 billion dollars, is now responsible for a full .0001% of Saudi Arabia's GNP. Terrorism is now effectively managed and minimized by the requirement than any terrorist wishing harm to U.S. interests, and to achieve subsequent qualification for FONA disbursements, must be thoroughly vetted by the departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Openness before permission is granted to target selected right-wing hate groups. Targeting of other than approved extremist conservative organizations will result in automatic disqualification from the program.

The Middle-East loves America now.

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