Writings and observations

First take/debate

Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear Fear. Fear.

Any terrorists out there, anyone at ISIS, watching last night’s Republican presidential debate had to be absolutely delighted: Their job of scaring the American people was being done to the utmost by the presidential candidates, just about all of them, of one of America’s two major political parties.

I’ve never heard a collection of presidential candidates sounding so frightened, so on edge, so ready to kill anyone and everyone – out of fear. What becomes most terrifying is letting any of them (with the possible exception of Rand Paul, who sounded the most grounded on this subject) anywhere near any actual military power, much less that of the by-far most powerful nation on earth.

One watcher pondered how it was “A debate about foreign policy in which no actual treaties were discussed. A debate about the most dangerous threats to America and no discussion of home-grown terrorists. A debate about national security that didn’t delve into the costs of war.”

At Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall recounted how the debate painted

. . . the global picture of a country, at least a major fraction of a country, totally unhinged by ISIS and the gruesome massacre in San Bernardino, California. Certainly the first half of the debate was roiled by repeated invocations of fear, the celebration of fear, the demand that people feel and react to their fear. This was logically joined to hyperbolic and ridiculous claims about ISIS as a group that might not simply attack America or kill Americans but might actually destroy the United States or even our entire civilization.

Politically, the GOP has an interest in whipping up this kind of hysteria. But a substantial number of people in this country also clearly need this fantasy vision of a great clash between good and evil which is in its own way only slightly less apocalyptic and unhinged than the philosophy of ISIS itself.

If one of them is elected, I’m not sure who exactly we’d be going to war with. But we’d be going to war with somebody, by damn. We’d be sending those troops in and dropping those bombs.

And on the day after election day, if one of them is elected, the people in every other nation on earth would have good reason to ask: Are we going to sit here and wait to be destroyed, or do something about it first? This kind of super-jingo talk isn’t being heard only by Americans, after all. Anyone who perceives a grievance with the United States, and anyone who wants to attack us, heard it too.

And the world takes another spin around the crazy wheel . . . But none of it, and none of this hysteria, is in the best interests of the United States or its people. – rs (image/BillyfabianCow)

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