Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fear Itself: Scary Stories Bite The Dust One By One

Here's a snapshot of memeorandum.com at 11:10 ET today. Notice that four or five of the main items are terror-scare stories or banging the drum about regime change in Iran. That's pretty normal for an aggregator that favors rightwing blogs because, the site owner tells me, they trackback more and his software picks that up as meaning a major story. Memeorandum gives a pretty good day-by-day indicator of what the Militant Right is getting worked up about and what stories it is turning into rightwinger recieved wisdom by repetition. It's a window on the noise machine.

  • We have the story of the new report from the House that says American intelligence agencies could do more to get good intelligence on Iran. True enough - but the report goes on to say that those agencies should only come up with evidence that fits the neocon agenda of regime change. Even if it means believing those who are proven liars like Newt Gingritch seems to want to. The report was written by a neocon hack from John Bolton's stable. Mark it as just a scary story about the need for more scary stories.

  • We have a tale of Israel "going it alone" against Iran. Military experts agree that would be lunacy at best and disasterous at worst for Israel, not to mention the 135,000 hostages of fortune that America keeps in Iraq. It isn't going to happen. It's just a scary story, folks.

  • The "nuclear surprise" that Iran supposedly has in store for the next few days? The rightwingers are all hinting it will be a nuclear weapon. If the announcement happens to be about an actual nuke I will personally post a retraction in 30 point bold of every post I have ever made about the Iranian nuclear program - and eat my hat into the bargain. It's far more likely to be an announcement about success in setting up a limited centrifuge cascade for enrichment of fuel, or some other non-apocalyptic landmark. Another scary story which will bite the dust shortly.

  • Then there is Brig. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who says it is "irrefutable that Iran is responsible for training, funding and equipping some of these (Iraqi Shiite) extremist groups and also providing advanced IED technology to them." Yet more regime change nonsense. Neither Gen Barbero, the original WaPo story or any of the rightwingers falling over themselves to scare each others pants off and demand an invasion of Iran at the same time manage to mention US Central Command's recent assertion that "there is nothing that we definitively have found to say that there are any Iranians operating within the country of Iraq." Who knows best, the guys in-country or the desk-jockey serving a political appointee? Another scary story with no truth behind it, methinks.

  • Finally, there's a whole bunch of scaremongering over the story of a US plane turned back to Amsterdam on its way to India - with 12 people of Asian origin detained. (Asians on a flight to India? Surely not!) Rightwing bloggers immediately presumed it was another foiled terror attack but alas for their pants-wetting fetishes it was not to be. Dutch authorities said today there was no threat of terrorism. Another scary story bites the dust.

    All of this on the back of their "woops, apocalypse" fiasco of earlier this week and uncountable other instances where the scarefactor turned out to be invented rather than real.

    Security expert Bruce Schnier puts it plainly today:
    The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

    And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want.
    "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." The Militant Right is trying its damnedest to stir up and create that fear, often out of whole cloth, whenever possible. They have become a greater threat to the stability and security of the West than any terror group or "rogue state". Three failed adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon have created more instability than they were ever supposed to solve and their fearmongering at home in pursuit of their waning political power is an attempt to undermine what makes the West free and liberty-loving...a refusal to be ruled by fear.

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