mantra: Be afraid, be very afraid
By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY
06/07/07 - --- -The Democrats in Congress wring their
hands, gnash their teeth and wail that there was nothing they
could do but cave in and vote to continue funding the war in
Iraq. After all, that crafty George W. Bush had maneuvered them
into a corner and they didn't have the votes to override his
All they had to do was keep passing a war funding bill with a
hard-and-fast timetable for beginning - and ending - the
complete withdrawal of the more than 150,000 American troops
fighting in that far-away place. Over and over and over,
throwing it back into the face of a president who mistakes
stubborn and hardheaded for principled resolve.
If that president continued to veto all the bills Congress sent
to him, the money eventually would run out, although with a
Defense Department budget of half a trillion dollars a year the
administration could and probably would keep robbing Peter to
pay Paul until both Peter and Paul were broke.
By which time it should be apparent to all who the real problem
was and where the blame properly rested for failing to provide
the money for an orderly end to the war that George W. Bush
started and is determined will not end in his lifetime or ours.
Texas friends of the president told columnist Georgie Ann Geyer
that it's the president's intention to arrange things so that
his successors for half a century will never be able to pull out
of Iraq. That George W. Bush intends that his blighted and
bloody legacy of an unnecessary war that's hurt us more than
it's hurt our enemies will continue, just as America's more
rational and less costly commitment in Korea has continued.
Throwing a wrench into such misguided machinery isn't all that
hard when you have check-writing authority. All it takes is
courage and integrity and an absence of fear. Alas, that was
lacking on Capitol Hill when the Democratic leadership, or what
passes for such, cratered and caved.
Their eye is on the 2008 presidential elections, and their fear
is that the White House spinmeister Karl Rove will portray the
Democratic nominee and all Democrats as soft on terror; will
accuse them of stabbing the American troops in the back.
The operative word here is "FEAR" and fear is the true legacy
that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and their neo-conservative
chickenhawk corps will leave behind them.
They've instilled fear in the American people, beginning the day
after 9/11, and they've played it like a Wurlitzer organ every
day since then. Every time bad news looms on their horizon, up
goes the red flag. Or the orange flag. Or the yellow flag. The
national terror threat alert system became a 24/7 traffic light,
except that it never turns green.
Whenever the truth threatens to intrude on the White House pipe
dreams, suddenly the Federal Bureau of Investigation seems to
uncover another huge and scary terrorist plot. A dirty bomb to
be planted in the heart of an American city. A plot to bring
down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch. Another plot to blow
up Chicago's premier skyscraper. A plan for steely eyed killers
disguised as pizza delivery boys to attack Fort Dix, N.J., and
kill American soldiers.
The latest: A plot to blow up the jet fuel pipeline to John F.
Dangerous enemies are out there, but at the heart of all these
journeys into darkness were bumbling fools without money,
weapons or even a mastermind. Without everything but an FBI
informant keeping them talking for a year or so.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in the darkest days of the
Depression, declared that the American people had nothing to
fear but fear itself. The only thing George W. Bush apparently
fears is the absence of fear.
Just as they believe that a lie repeated often enough will
somehow become the truth (ask Vice President Cheney about Iraq's
non-existent alliance with al-Qaeda for example), so also do
they apparently believe that if they cry "wolf" often enough
most Americans will willingly trade their freedoms for the
illusion of security. That such a deal usually results in the
victims ending up with neither freedom nor security seems lost
in this transaction.
This administration has injected fear into the American people;
into much of the media, whose duty it is to speak truth to
power, not cower before the powerful; into a mighty nation's
foreign policy; and now even into the Democratic majority in
Fear saps the will and decision-making power of humans. Fear
blurs all that is good and decent, and blinds us to evil being
done in our name.
Enough is enough. We have lived for more than six years in fear
of our neighbors, fear of a world turned hostile by the words
and actions of our own leaders, fear of a future that once was a
bright and shining dream.
What we must do is give up fear for the 600-odd days that remain
in this president's lease on the White House. As those old
bumper stickers declared: NO FEAR! We can be, we must be, alert,
on guard and observant because there are evildoers in this
world. We need not be foolhardy - but we must be clear-eyed and
clear-headed and determined that never again will we be
manipulated by a crew of cynical politicians who know only how
to hate, not how to love.
Joseph L. Galloway is former senior military correspondent
for Knight Ridder Newspapers and co-author of the national
best-seller "We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young." Readers may
write to him at: P.O. Box 399, Bayside, Texas 78340; e-mail:
on "comments" below to
read or post comments
Be succinct, constructive and
relevant to the story. We
encourage engaging, diverse and
meaningful commentary. Do not
include personal information such
as names, addresses, phone
numbers and emails. Comments
falling outside our guidelines
those including personal
attacks and profanity are
See our complete Comment
Policy and use
this link to notify us if you
have concerns about a comment.
Well promptly review and
remove any inappropriate
Send Page To a Friend
with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material
is distributed without profit to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational
purposes. Information Clearing House has no
affiliation whatsoever with the originator of
this article nor is Information ClearingHouse
endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)