Demagogues of Terror

Bruce Schneier: Terrorist Threats and Political Gain

As Pault said when he sent this my way: “Two of my favorite things in one place: a Bruce Schneier article on the Counterpunch web site“:

There are two basic ways to terrorize people. The first is to do something spectacularly horrible, like flying airplanes into skyscrapers and killing thousands. The second is to keep people living in fear through constant threat warnings, security checks, rhetoric, and stories of terrorist plots foiled by the diligent work of the increasingly intrusive Department of Homeland Security.

The Republicans have spent decades running for office on “the Democrats are soft on Communism.” Since 9/11, they’ve discovered “the Democrats are soft on terrorism.” The effectiveness of this strategy depends on convincing Americans that there is a major terrorism threat, and that we need to give the government free reign to do whatever it sees fit.

Security is complicated, and countermeasures we put in place to defend against one threat may leave us more vulnerable to another. The truth is that the risk of terrorism in this country is as small as it has been since before 9/11. The risk of governance by a corrupt government is much greater. And it’s becoming greater still with every policy decision made in the name of “the war on terrorism” that gives more power to the government and less to the people.

As Schneier so accurately illustrates, the Bush Administration is waging an active campaign to use fear to underhandedly manipulate public opinion. Go read the entire excellent article here.