When hope, courage and wisdom yield to panic, fear and hysteria

Dont-Be-Afraid-America-ap-640x480-1

Ted Cruz has a plan.

“We will utterly destroy ISIS,” he told an audience in Iowa Saturday. “We will carpet-bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out!”

The crowd cheered wildly. The fact that the Cruz plan is a stupid plan — unworkable, counterproductive, and crafted with all the strategic sophistication of a first-grader with a box of crayons — didn’t seem to matter.

It’s just nuts. Every military leader in this country understands that sustained “carpet-bombing” didn’t bring Japan, Nazi Germany and even North Vietnam to their knees, even though they all had industry, ports, military bases and other targets vulnerable to bombs. The experts also know that such an approach against an amorphous Third World movement such as ISIS with very few identifiable targets would be like trying to swat a fly with a sledgehammer.

Sure, the sledgehammer does a lot of collateral damage, but you accomplish nothing.

So why do it? Because if you swing a sledgehammer, you at least feel strong and manly doing so, and apparently that’s all that matters. It’s the same mindless, emotion-driven reaction that George W. Bush and his friends leveraged in the wake of Sept. 11 to get the country worked up enough to invade Iraq, a country that had nothing at all to do with that attack. Get people mad and fearful, and they become putty in your hands.

Speaking of trying to feel manly, Jerry Falwell Jr. also has a plan.

“I always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walk in and kill,” the chancellor of Liberty University told his students at a weekly convocation, patting the firearm stored not-so-safely in his rear pocket. “I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course, and let’s teach ’em a lesson if they ever show up here.”

Falwell did not expand his remarks beyond “those Muslims,” even though domestic terrorists kill just as many as do jihadists, and home-grown mass murderers on a spree have murdered many more. He also did not mention those gunmen who have acted out a deluded perversion of Christianity, such as James Kopp, John Salvi, Eric Rudolph, Paul Jennings Hill and most recently Robert Dear. Nor did he address the fact that without exception, societies that rely on privately owned firearms for personal security are the least secure societies on the planet. That isn’t an argument for confiscation, but it is certainly an argument for a sense of proportion.

Speaking of a sense of proportion, there’s Georgia’s own Erick Erickson. On Saturday, the New York Times published a front-page editorial calling for a renewed ban on assault weapons, among other steps, to deny terrorists both domestic and foreign their apparent arms of choice. Erickson proudly responded by taking a few potshots at the editorial — literally.

guns

In other words, I suppose, the best retort to reasoned debate and to words that you don’t want to read is a few not-so-well placed bullets. That’ll show ’em. That’ll prove the critics wrong when they suggest that the rhetoric of the conservative movement is growing perilously close to legitimizing violence.

As I wrote the other day, the theory of the gun as a means of forcing political change is the theory of the terrorist.

I do not recall a time in my adult life when this country stood closer to the edge of irrationality, nor when the voices that ought to quell that irrationality have fallen so ominously silent. The Sixties — which I lived through as a child — had its own distinctive madness, but it was at least explainable in terms of the monumental social and political changes that we were trying to work through. And although fear certainly existed — and we had politicians willing to milk that fear — as a society we did not seem to want to wallow in that fear as we do today, soaking it in through every pore.

Let me put it bluntly: We’re acting like a bunch of cowards, and the type of bluster that we’re seeing from various quarters does not disguise the underlying panic that is driving it. In fact, the rest of the world must be looking at America and marveling at what has happened to a once-brave and optimistic people.

We were pushed into a humiliating hysteria by Ebola, which ended up killing exactly zero of those few infected here. We don’t dare to close Guantanamo because the thought of imprisoning aging al Qaida adherents in high-security prisons here on the mainland is supposedly more than our meek little hearts can take. Canada, a nation barely a tenth of our population, is accepting 25,000 refugees from Syria without controversy while American governors quiver at the thought of accepting a dozen. The U.S. murder rate is dramatically lower than it has been in living memory; our enemies, while fanatic, pale in deadliness and danger to those confronted by earlier generations of Americans.

Yet we’re acting as though we might all die at any moment if we do not surrender our constitutional privacy, treat all Muslims as suspected terrorists  and arm ourselves against a threat that in truth we cannot accurately identify.

It’s dangerous, because once such fires are set no one knows who or what they might consume.

 

 

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1387 comments
Caius
Caius

Re carpet bombing ISIS; there is already a shortage of bombs in the Near East Theater.

We can make more as soon as Congress spends the money to do so..

straker
straker

The days of American politicians like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR and JFK are, obviously, long since gone.


In their place are Trump, Cruz and Rubio.


You get what you pay for.


Only in America.

WW5
WW5

read your headline jay, thought you were talking about global warming!!

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@WW5 

A reminder:

Conservative humor is what closes Saturday night.

fedup52
fedup52

Heard an interview on NPR with a woman, with Medicaid, in rural Kentucky.  To her, gay marriage is more important than loosing her Medicaid.  So she voted for Bevin.  That is amazing.  Voting against her own interest.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

so 43 percent of Americans are victims of panic, fear and hysteria . . . what's new

Keep in mind that Americans have on more than a few occasions had a pretty serious case of buyer's remorse on those panic/fear/hysteria episodes and rethought their panic/fear/hysteria. See also: School integration, interracial marriage, marriage inequality, et. al.

Really the only question to ask at this point is if we've hit Peak Mooslumbz-Hatin' or if the fascisti among us can drive it up a bit higher over the next few months.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@Visual_Cortex I don't know about hating all muslims, but the one wearing suicide vests definately get my attention.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@InTheMiddle2 @Visual_Cortex 

okie doke. Maybe we can deputize you, and let you wear a little NSA Cadette uni, and you can watch all the International Arrivals to make sure that nobody walks past wearing a suicide vest.

lvg
lvg

Topic of the day: In light of yesterday's SCOTUS decision, does Atlanta ban all assault weapons ? NRA got their butts kicked yesterday except for their two lackeys, Scalia and Thomas.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@lvg First there isn't a ban on all assault weapons. It is just illegal for law abiding citizens, nothing changes for anybody else.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@lvg 

does Atlanta ban all assault weapons ?

It'd be kind of a pointless gesture, but I can see some modest utility in such an act.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

In case you ever wondered why td1234 is here:


It could only be better if Doom, Philo, SGT and 53 were here



PaulinNH
PaulinNH

I found it hilarious (yet sad) that TD posted that reading this blog was the most fun he has had in weeks. I get entertained by this blog but my fun activities don't involve on line blogs.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@PaulinNH 

the most fun he has had in weeks

I can only hope for his sake that he was making this up.

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

Republican Teddy Roosevelt said "Speak softly and carry a big stick." Today's Republicans have such big mouths that whatever stick we have looks tiny in comparison. 

Peachs
Peachs

@Citizen-of-the-World Teddy actually got out in it, he was a man of action as much as a man of words.  Rough Riders adored him. He was truly a freak even in his own time, today he would be fun to see go against the hot air of the Republican Party. He very well may have been fighting the ancestors of Cruz and Rubio as he advanced up that hill...

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Visual_Cortex @FIGMO2

I doubt it but you can always hope.

Somebody's hamming it up in Philadelphia.

Severed pig's head thrown at Philadelphia mosque door

My church once had several Bibles burned on the lawn out front.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@FIGMO2 @Visual_Cortex 

Both acts of desecration are deplorable of course. 

But you have to ask--what's easier to procure, some Bibles (likely swiped out of Mom/Dad's collection, or maybe from a hotel room), or a pig's head?

I'd imagine the latter item required a bit more work on the desecrators' part, and ought to be a little more alarming.

Peachs
Peachs

@FIGMO2 a decision like this might backfire.  One of the worst problems the Democrats have is unregistered voters, ambivalence, this could wake em up. 


On the head count places like Edgefield, South Carolina use their federal prison population to count towards federal funding for bond issues and such, adding a couple of thousand to the roles. If we can't count em for voting we can't count em for pork barreling either. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Visual_Cortex @FIGMO2

Unless they got it from a local butcher. Feral swine run rampant in Pennsylvania. Could've been a hunter after removing the good parts for his freezer.

Both acts of desecration are deplorable of course.

I don't trust your sincerity on ^^^ that.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@FIGMO2 @Visual_Cortex 

About the pig's head? I've no doubt that whoever procured it had no trouble doing so; I'm just saying that Bibles are a lot easier to find.

And why do you doubt my sincerity about the burnt Bibles? you do realize that I am a church member myself, have been for over a decade, and wouldn't want to see any such house of worship sullied thus?


FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Visual_Cortex @FIGMO2

Why?

Because your Christianity is in doubt. You're not a good'n.

J/K...that's what too many of jay's liberals like to argue.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@FIGMO2 @Visual_Cortex 

So I guess you know that our regressives are going to get all lathered up over another golden opportunity to make the US an even less representational democracy than it is already.

Peachs
Peachs

Could you imagine what Trump would have done with Pearl Harbor?  We all would be speaking Japanese today...

breckenridge
breckenridge

And the Bible will tell you how non-believers end. In hell for eternity. So get ready.

Well you know 36% of Americans do not believe there even is a hell.  Which begets the question ...........how can you go somewhere that does not exist for you?

HDB0329
HDB0329

The

Racist

 Unleashed

 Must not be

 President........

gotalife
gotalife

Donald Trump Unites Democrats, Republicans Against His Plan to Bar Muslims From Entering US

Finally, unity to show resolve and patriotism in the war on terror. 


trump is a uniter.

Peachs
Peachs

@gotalife I have actually heard die in the wool Republicans in Georgia say they cannot vote for him, Palin didn't even get that kind of disrespect.  Why do the Republicans insist on playing to the lowest denominator. 

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

Those Georgia pols who have lined up like lemmings behind the Donald should stand ready to say whether they support the First Amendment or whether they will continue to support Trump. Can't be both.

Peachs
Peachs

@hamiltonAZ the right is so much more than that.  Newt wanted to have the Supreme Court report to the Congress in a Hillary type Gowdy committee, which is not just one amendment, but the hard drive of our Constitution.  No standard is holy with these guys if it gets them more power.  

Kamchak
Kamchak


@ObamaIsWrong 

It is obvious ou[sic] public education system failed you.

Oh, the irony!

ObamaIsWrong
ObamaIsWrong

Good night kiddies. I hope you finally get to Oz, meet the wizard, and get the brains he has waiting for you. God knows you all could use them. It is obvious ou public education system failed you.