Fear campaigning

October 21st saw another Republican debate. Yes, another chance to catch up one sleep because nothing new was said. In fact, if you had to find something that was actually new, then it would be the levels of ridiculousness that candidates set. Especially Mike Huckabee. My feelings for him have been written before, and they have not changed. In an attempt to get cheap points, he started to attack the most logical of all Republican enemies: Hillary Clinton. Simply put, Huckabee said, if there was a Hillary Clinton administration:

“Our military loses its morale, and I’m not sure we’ll have the courage and the will and the resolve to fight the greatest threat this country’s ever faced in Islamofascism.”

Leaving alone the pure Republican propaganda that is dripping from a statement like that, I’d like to bring this to a familiar topic to Australians at the moment:

Fear campaigns.

The Republicans are the masters of it. Rather than actually addressing an issue, or providing anything but hollow rhetoric, they construct a deck of cards world that only they can manage.The above statement by Huckabee is one example. Here’s one from Romney:

It’s this century’s nightmare, Jihadism — violent radical Islamic fundamentalism. Their goal is to unite the world under a single Jihadist caliphate. To do that, they must collapse freedom-loving nations like us. . As President, I’ll strengthen our intelligence services. Increase our military by at least 100,000. And monitor the calls Al-Qaeda makes into America. And we can stop and will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Are we beginning to see a trend? And Giuliani regularly cites the 9/11 attacks as an experience point in his campaign. Over and over again, if it isn’t the fear of one thing happening, it’s the fear of another.

And I question the validity behind it all. Where is the validity in a statement like Islamofascism is “the greatest threat this country’s ever faced”? Does Huckabee actually believe in a statement like that? Does he seriously think that Islamofascism is more of a threat than World War Two? Than a nuclear-armed Soviet Union during the Cold War? I certainly wouldn’t. It’s the most serious threat that I’ve had in my life time – all twenty-one years of it (sarcasm), but I’m sure there’s been worse. It’s only being highlighted as the “greatest threat” because it’s happening now. If they made the argument that it’s the most pressing threat that needs to be confronted befoe more trouble erupts, then I’d be perfectly fine with it. But they aren’t saying that …

And how do these far-right wing lunatics propose the West (I’ve expanded the targets of history’s worst enemy) defeat Islamofascism? Well, they don’t. They all advocate staying in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that must be part of the approach. Oh, and illegally wiretapping citizens is another approach. But other than breaking the law and direction-less war? Nothing.

And how serious is a threat of Islamofascism? I mean seriously, can anyone see a time when there is a “world under a single Jihadist caliphate”? The moderates and sane like to point out it’s a few bad apples that spoil the bowl. This is true. It’s only a few thousand people who have no country, no military and minimal resources who want to establish this “Jihadist caliphate”. Doesn’t sound like history’s worst enemy to me. But I honestly believe that they (the far-right nutbacks) honestly believe we are on the verge of this caliphate. It’s McCarthyism turbocharged! Get the old saying of ‘Reds under the bed’ and swap ‘Reds’ for ‘Islamic extremists’. Though, you see the right condense that down to just ‘Islamics’, removing the crucial part. It’s just like any left-wing supporter was a communist.

And if this is the greatest enemy of all time, why the hell aren’t we doing more about it? Western countries are on the verge of Islamic peril and what are our leaders doing? There’s no conscription to repel this overwhelming enemy, there’s no full military mobilisation. No. Instead, Australians are told we’ve never been better off and that interest rates are what we are meant to be concerned with. Don’t you think that if America were faced with the world’s greatest enemy then one of its few remaining allies would be, you know, worried a little bit more?

That’s because the right-wing lunatics that make up the face of the Republican party are simply blowing everything out of proportion in their fear campaigning. The only reason Howard hasn’t got onto it is because it would not go down at all well her (and it’s likely to not work in the slightest). Instead he focuses on other ‘fears’ – interest rates, economy, unions. Simply put: we aren’t facing the greatest threat of all time. We’re facing a threat, and one that needs to be dealt with in an appropriate manner. The fact that no right wing parties the world over can articulate exactly how we should deal with the threat is evidence that they don’t know. While they tout that withdrawal and retreat are the wrong and bad options, I’m yet to see what the right and good options are.

Thomas.

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