One of the most pernicious, evil acts George Bush ever inflicted upon the United States lasted about thirty months in his first term, a filthy tactic that almost seems hard to believe happened and thankfully has completely vanished from American political environment: the terror alerts.
Remember? The colored bands ascending to red flashing endlessly on Fox and CNN, popping up so menacingly for those who checked the news in the evening? Something has happened, we learned something somewhere, never mind how or what it is, just be alert! Trust us, the world just got more dangerous! The terrorists are out there, be afraid, American, very afraid, we just went yellow. Red will be here any day or any hour, when terror, frantic fear for your life soon to mangled in horrible death, red terror will replace the fear.
The terror alerts instantly vanished, never to be seen again, as soon as Bush won election 2004, the filthy scurrilous tactic of instilling fear having served its purpose of electing the Daddy kick-ass protector of the scared populace.
The most scathing criticism delivered from the best boss I’ve ever had was to get a stony look and have your behavior deemed “reactive.” What she meant was that—except in very rare extraordinary times—human behavior is a choice. Deliberative acts of full awareness of the attitude and form of communication to be undertaken with other human beings in the course of a day. Flying off the handle, being “reactive” without any deliberative choice on how to meet the world, was grossly immature and guaranteed to deliver bad-to-terrible results.
Bush and his felonious cohorts deliberately chose the worst, pernicious, and damaging human way to behave in the world after 9/11: fearfully. It causes humans to behave in extremes they would normally never descend to (war for lies, torture, domestic spying) for reasons that are almost always stupidly unnecessary. Whaddaya know, everything Bush took on in his disastrous environment of fear has delivered bad-to-terrible results, with many unequivocally stating Bush is the worst of all time.
Bush is merely a glaring symptom for a long history of embracing fear and reactive violence undertaken by America. That’s what American militarism is, a fearful stance to a world full of perceived threats that can be most effectively countered with violence. Resource scarcity, tribalism, disease—bombs away! No other nation on earth comes remotely close in the hundreds of billions of American dollars squanders on instruments of death every year: aircraft carriers, grenades, aircraft of dazzling variety, mines, satellites, torpedoes, pistols, submarines, tanks, endless missiles, rifles, armored personnel carriers, ships.
If there’s a problem to face, America can blow the shit out of it and anyone in way. That’s a choice we as a country made a long time ago, and Bush merely exploited it with a terrible domestic terrorism act and a heinous choice to whip up as much fear in the populace as possible.
The terror alerts are three years gone, the communists long gone and the terrorists hold no territory or nationality, but American militarism runs rampant. Just a tiny glance at the news on an April American Saturday night, circa 2007, reveals an insane plan to squander half a trillion to “upgrade” our nuclear arsenal and a routine $60 million bomb sale to Israel.
All those trillions spent on weapons and things sure have worked out well in Iraq and Afghanistan, haven’t they? The Israelis have has so much success with their bombs in Palestine and Lebanon, oh yes. No matter the reality or the results, in the Unites States it’s always bombs away: nuclear, cluster, penetration, phosphorous, napalm, concussion, we gotta bomb for any occasion, baby.
It seems so commonplace and inevitable to most Americans, and a lonely blog voice flung against the monstrous edifice of our military-industrial complex may seem futile to many, but it still will be said here American militarism is a choice. American actions of reactive fear in the form of institutionalized violence that have delivered utterly predictable disastrous results. It does not have to be this way.
As a people we may never truly learn that, but at least it’s to be hoped we learned what the choice of fear and terror alerts got us: George Bush and this incredible hell of Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s what happens when our leaders exhort us to be afraid.