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The Next Five Years of Fear

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Message Lawrence Fiarman
Five years after 9/11 one thing has changed fundamentally. With elections coming, our government now tries to scare voters with the fear of more terrorist attacks. Republicans want to stay in power. All polls show the majority of voters are unsatisfied. For fear of losing elections, the Bush administration is attempting to scare us into voting for their candidates.

Only Republicans can protect us they feel. But, fear is the desired effect of terrorists. The irony is that our own government is attempting to terrorize us -- with words, not bombs.

If we fall for this, we have already lost the war on terrorism. If we fall for this, we accept that what this government has done is the best Americans can do. If we accept this, we accept long lasting devastation from hurricanes and global warming, too, because we hold our government to too low a standard.

Vice President Dick Cheney has said repeatedly, "If the Democrats win, we'll be hit again." But the Clinton administration foiled terrorist attacks, too -- notably ones timed for the year 2000 celebration here, and the simultaneous bombings of several passenger airplanes bound for the U.S. over the Pacific. In fact, the group of terrorists Scotland Yard arrested around London last month planned a new version of that same attack foiled over the Pacific.

President George W. Bush said recently the Islamic terrorists are the new fascists. He compared them to the Nazis in World War II. He may be right. But be careful what history you invoke. History records it was the Republicans who sided with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in appeasing Adolf Hitler. And it was the Democrats who led the war to obliterate Hitler and fascism.

For all the shoes taken off at airport checkpoints, how many terrorists have we caught that way? For all the luggage searches of shoeless grandmothers at the airport, how many terrorists have been caught at the airport? You can be sure if it were even one, it would have been a big news story. The inconvenience is worth it if it closes a door for terrorists. But many doors are still open.

Five years later, no regulations exist for security checking of private jets. Security experts warn that terrorists could lease or buy them and fly into buildings causing the same destruction and fear they did five years ago. If drug smugglers can use private jets to fly cocaine into the U.S., why leave this opening to terrorists within America?

Are we doing the best we can do? We certainly are playing politics with terrorism. In the next five years if we've made only as much progress as we have made in the past five, history will record we weren't very effective. We should fear that as much as another terrorist attack.
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Lawrence Fiarman is a freelance writer and former columnist for the local newspaper in his midwestern hometown.
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