How long will we stay afraid? The last eight years have put us in a mode of fear. We drive to the airport and there is a big sign that says "terror alert" - usually it has been yellow, but now we are being told it could go up. The Mumbai incident makes people more afraid. Just remember that fear is contagious
America, cowering to an imaginary enemy, is not the country I once knew
Like McCarthy, Bush relied on a synthesised climate of fear. Obama inherits a nation that sees al-Qaida fiends at all turns
by Simon Jenkins in New York
December 5, 2008
America seems much in need of Roosevelt's maxim to stop fearing fear itself. Virtually all comment on the Mumbai massacre has mentioned 9/11 and al-Qaida, and thus invited citizens to continue feeling afraid. No matter that Mumbai appears to have been primarily about Kashmir and the status of India's Muslims. No matter that Osama bin Laden has no dog in that fight. Any stick will do to elevate al-Qaida as America's enemy number one.
Last week, the CIA warned of a terrorist threat that "might be unleashed" during the presidential transition, a threat that George Bush described as "dangerously real". On Wednesday Barack Obama was formally told by a congressional inquiry that "it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction, either nuclear or biological, will be used in a terrorist attack" in his first year of office. The inquiry demanded that an official must be appointed "to oversee efforts to prevent such an attack", as if millions of Americans in and out of uniform were not doing that already...more