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The specter of fear and dread hangs over America

By       Message michael payne     Permalink
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This America in which we live is not the country it once was. Our military is fighting wars in foreign lands to, supposedly, protect us. And yet the American society is beset by a growing feeling of fear and dread. How can the people who live in the most powerful nation in the history of the world not feel safe?

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I have previously written about the fear that has been planted into the American psyche. The art of spreading fear through a constant barrage of propaganda was perfected and taken to new heights during the deceitful Bush administration. The problem is that even though those architects of perpetual fear and war have departed, the great fear machine in Washington continues without missing a beat. It continues with its message, only the faces and voices are different.

Joseph Goebbels, Reichsminister of Propaganda for Germany in the buildup to World War II said: "Propaganda is a means to an end. Its purpose is to lead the people to an understanding that will allow it to willingly and without internal resistance devote itself to the tasks and goals of a superior leadership. If propaganda is to succeed, it must know what it wants. It must keep a clear and firm goal in mind, and seek the appropriate means and methods to reach that goal."

I'd say that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney must have read and absorbed nearly every word ever uttered by Goebbels, the all-time champion promoter of propaganda that was used to spread fear into the people of Germany. Rove and Cheney, the modern-day promoters of propaganda and fear are not the equals of Goebbels, the best in history, but they successfully used his teachings to promote constant fear for eight very stressful and painful years. But all that should have come to an end when the Obama team came on board; it didn't.

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The recent thwarted effort to set off a bomb on Northwest Airlines flight #253 bound for Detroit on Christmas provides a striking example of the fear mentality that has become a fixture within our society. No sooner had this event taken place than it was picked up by every element of the media in America. Cable TV; CNN, Fox News and MSNBC filled the air waves with a 24/7 schedule of non-stop reporting of how the suspect known as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, who said he was acting on Al-Qaeda's instructions, had tried but failed to set off an explosive device on a plane headed for Detroit.

Day after day, the reports of this event went on non-stop with nearly every anchor on every show. These anchors, together with military analysts and security experts issued grave warnings about terrorists and the failure of airport security and governmental agencies. The propaganda machine to frighten America went into high gear to plant yet more fear into our society.

What Osama Bin Laden initially planned for America has worked brilliantly for him but, unfortunately, not for the American people. Osama's strategy was to plan and carry out a horrific attack in America that would set off a massive military response by the U.S. government; that he did with the tragedy of 9/11. He used 9/11 as the starting point from which following random terrorist attacks would draw America into quagmires around the world. This was a part of his overall strategy by which he wanted to undermine and destroy the very fabric of our economic, social and political system. He made capitalism his enemy and vowed to destroy it.

Osama's strategy has turned into a nightmare for America. The Bush administration took the bait offered by him and reacted just like a raging bull; exactly as Osama expected. As a result, our military is now sinking into the quagmire of Afghanistan while, at the same time, we remain mired down in a very costly occupation in Iraq. The strategy Osama set is still working very well as any incident such as the bomb threat by the Nigerian suspect results in increased concern over terror throughout America. Whether it's the departed Bush or Mr. Obama in charge, the fear of potential terror attacks hangs over America like a dark, ominous cloud.

Headline! Obama blames Al-Qaeda for flight 253 Christmas attack. What a stunning, surprising revelation for Americans. Here's an American president blaming Al-Qaeda for another cowardly attack. Well, Saddam's gone so he can't be blamed so Mr. Obama tells America that the culprits are, without a doubt, Al-Qaeda based in Yemen and so we are given our next injection so we can continue with our addiction to fear and terror. Before long we will be getting accounts of military strikes in Yemen by U.S. Special Forces and, most certainly, an escalation of the drone missions that have been going on there for some time.

So, is this going to dictate the future for America? After a Nigerian flying into Detroit tries to set off a bomb, we immediately get ready to launch attacks on Yemen, the nation "said" to be involved. Then, perhaps, another incident follows with a suspected terrorist from Somalia; do we then attack Somalia? Maybe Sudan or Nigeria after that? Suppose we feel that other suspected terrorists based in Britain, Spain or Germany are planning an attack on America. Might we decide to use our Special Forces or drones to wipe them out? Could this situation go so far that we, at some point, even violate the borders of our allies?

Our leadership in Washington, namely, Mr. Obama and the military, apparently still do not understand that the greatest military machine in history, using the most advanced weapons, cannot defeat insurgents who fight by completely different rules; who use stealth and hide in the shadows before striking back with their own terrible form of payback on those who occupy their country. They should have learned this lesson from the disastrous, tragic experience of the Vietnam War, but they have not. A new day in warfare has dawned and it is time that our leadership awoke from its deep slumber.

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Even though, thank God, that the bomb on flight #253 did not go off, this will go down as a win for the bad guys. The damaging psychological effect that it has had on this society is evidenced by the fact that, since it happened on Christmas day, it is still the primary issue being discussed in the media nearly two weeks later; and you can bet it will not go away any time soon.

America is caught up in a deadly, vicious circle. Osama and/or his successors are still out there pulling the strings and, if we continue to react like enraged bulls, then they will have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They will have taken America closer and closer to the collapse that they had envisioned.

Michael Payne


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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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