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Fearmongers on the Warpath yet Again

Our Director of Homeland Insecurity is trying to make you afraid:

I believe we're entering a period this summer of increased risk. We've seen a lot more public statements from Al Qaeda. There are a lot of reasons to speculate about that but one reason that occurs to me is that they're feeling more comfortable and raising expectations. In the last August, and in prior summers, we've had attacks against the West, which suggests that summer seems to be appealing to them. I think we do see increased activity in South Asia, so we do worry about whether they are rebuilding their capabilities. We've struck at them and degraded them, but they rebuild. All these things have given me kind of a gut feeling that we are in a period of increased vulnerability.

No doubt this news will send some scurrying to their bomb shelters, but the rest of us aren't going to let the terrorists win. We aren't going to quiver and shake and wet our pants with every pronouncement from the administration that the terrorists are about to attack us. Those of you on the right can go ahead and hand Al Qaeda the victory they desire by caving in to the fear that they are trying to spread, but we won't have any of it on our side.

Statements like these by Chertoff are, of course, utterly useless and do nothing to actually improve our security and help us win the war on terror. They are simply designed to spread fear among the populace in order to prop up the sagging political fortunes of our beleaguered President. I can think of no other possible explanation of why Chertoff feels it necessary to share his "gut feelings" with the American people. Chertoff should keep his guts to himself.


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Comments (21)

kim:

All you have to fear is fear itself, and IED's.
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Heralder:

You're failing to take into list of real reasons as to why Chertoff has this gut feeling...they're right there, you blockquoted them.

I've brought it up before: Either they don't warn people of increased "chatter" and terrorist activity, and be blamed for dereliction of duty...or they do warn people and get accused of fearmongering. Like it or not, some people (myself not included) prefer to know of risks.

They are simply designed to spread fear among the populace in order to prop up the sagging political fortunes of our beleaguered President.

Also of importance: Impending terrorist attacks do not make people vote Republican, and they don't make people view the President more favorably.


Lee Ward:

Not true, Heralader. All you need to do is look at the 2004 campaign ads for Bush to see how this administration uses terrorism and terrorist imagery to frighten people into supporting Bush. It got him re-elected in 2004, but it doesn't work now? Can you explain why?

Hard core Bush supporters like Lorie Byrd still get misty-eyed every time Bush misprounounces Al-Qaeda -- it's quite touching, actually.

"Either they don't warn people of increased "chatter" and terrorist activity, and be blamed for dereliction of duty...or they do warn people and get accused of fearmongering. "

This is different, Chertoff states (as Larkin highlights) that he's working purely off of 'gut instinct' - no increased chatter, no terrorist activity to base it on. My guess is that just an email from Cheney or Rove is all it takes for Chertoff's gut to flinch.

Matt:

I think it is a good warning, and an easy one to make. It does however, make me wonder just what the government might be up to? Are we being subtly warned about an upcoming staged event? After all, we do need a better reason than possible nukes to attack Iran.

Is an event of magnitude going to happen to trigger the continuity of government orders?

Regardless of who is in charge, I don't trust the government to have my best interests in mind.

Heralder:

Lee:

Not true, Heralader. All you need to do is look at the 2004 campaign ads for Bush to see how this administration uses terrorism and terrorist imagery to frighten people into supporting Bush.

Highlighting the success of the current administration in fighting terrorism as opposed the the previous administration's ignorance of it is not fearmongering.

If people disagree with Bush's policies they aren't going to be frightened into voting for him anyway. Did you vote for Bush?

I think it may be difficult to realize that Bush didn't have to steal an election or intimidate the sheeple into voting for him to win in 2004.

It got him re-elected in 2004,

Is that conjecture or fact?


but it doesn't work now? Can you explain why?

Yes, because that's not the reason. Occam's Razor.

This is different, Chertoff states (as Larkin highlights) that he's working purely off of 'gut instinct' - no increased chatter, no terrorist activity to base it on.

He was asked though, specifically...as the article is prefaced:

"Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff met with the Tribune editorial board on Tuesday for a wide-ranging interview covering immigration, security measures, and the prospects of a terrorist strike on the U.S. Here is a partial transcript of what he had to say."

Chertoff didn't call a press conference and expound on his personal opinions, he was asked about it and he answered honestly.

Would you have preferred: "No, everything is fine, perfectly safe, no terrorism, no war, no threat...we won." -?-

That would be a lie and might feed into the "Most Secretive Administration Eva!!1!" mantra.

Chertoff lied, people died.

Perhaps we can have Steve Crickmore advocate for Chertoff to be muzzled and sent to a labor camp.

My guess is that just an email from Cheney or Rove is all it takes for Chertoff's gut to flinch.

My guess is this man is our Director of Homeland SECURITY and it's his job to know.

Where was Chertoff's spidey sense when people were stuck in the New Orleans convention center?

Heralder:

It was waiting for the Governer and the Mayor to do their jobs.

It was waiting for the Governer and the Mayor to do their jobs.

I would have thought his gut would have told him that the Governor and the Mayor were overwhelmed and needed a lot of help. Instead he told us that N.O. had "dodged a bullet". You can't argue with that wicked awesome track record. I hope he starts listening to his trick knee instead of his gut from now on.

Lee Ward:

heralder: "Highlighting the success of the current administration in fighting terrorism as opposed the the previous administration's ignorance of it is not fearmongering."

Get real. They didn't highlight success - they highlighted the dangerous elements still out there - the boooooogeymen.

Here's a fun look at 2004 - link. Here's another.

The ads for the 2006 GOP campaigns showed Osama bin-Laden and al-Zawahiri - its a classic example of the GOP terrorizing America - link.

I've got a lot going on this today, but I'll try to get back to the rest of your partisan misdirection later.

Heralder:
I would have thought his gut would have told him that the Governor and the Mayor were overwhelmed and needed a lot of help.

I'm going to avoid getting into another Katrina discussion here, but the only reason either or both of them were overwhelmed is because they sat with their thumbs up their asses while people died, then realized that they needed to do something after it was too late. All that needed to be done was for the Governer to submit the request for help. Too overwhelmed for that...but not too overwhelemed for them to blame their failings on other people. At least that's my take on it.

Heralder:

Lee,

Get real. They didn't highlight success - they highlighted the dangerous elements still out there - the boooooogeymen.

Says the DNC on Youtube. Inconfutable trooth!

The ads for the 2006 GOP campaigns showed Osama bin-Laden and al-Zawahiri -

Let's again ask the question: If people disagree with Bush's policies they aren't going to be frightened into voting for him anyway. Did you vote for Bush?

Shocker: I didn't vote for Bush in 2004 and I live in the center of a bullseye.

I've got a lot going on this today, but I'll try to get back to the rest of your partisan misdirection later.

Thanks Lee. Maybe by then you can come up with something solid.

The point is, Heralder, if Chertoff's gut was such a good indicator of danger then he would have known that N.O. and the rest of the gulf coast were in dire straights and needed a lot of help. That didn't happen, so why should we listen to his gut now that he is claiming an attack is imminent?
Answer: we shouldn't. We, as a nation, have spent tons of money trying to make sure another 9/11 doesn't happen and our last line of defense shouldn't be Chertoff's gut.

Heralder:

Blue,

Given your example, I'll yield that you have reason to not trust Chertoff's gut reaction. Whether or not Chertoff is correct in how he feels is not the point Larkin was trying to make with his post however.

We, as a nation, have spent tons of money trying to make sure another 9/11 doesn't happen and our last line of defense shouldn't be Chertoff's gut.

I don't think that's what I argued, but he does have access to information you and I do not.

Paul Hamilton:

Heralder, Skeletor's remarks yesterday served no purpose at all. "Gut feelings" are meaningless, and to say that there might be an attack sometime, somewhere is NOT useful information. So this isn't so much about terrorism threat levels as it is national stresss levels. He clearly would have been better just to say that he had no useful information to share.

Heralder:

Larkin,

The strategy the Republicans are following is to repeat a set of trigger words often enough to instill a deep sense of fear into the American people. Words like "September 11", "terrorists", "dirty bombs", etc.

Out of sight out of mind, is that what you think? We should avoid using words, we should not bring up the past or significant events? You seem to have little faith in the American people if you think that's all it takes.

Do me a favor, read my first and second reply to you and at least make an honest attempt at addressing it rather than avoiding it and cheerleading Lee.

I'm not trying to be combative, honestly, I just never get an actual response from you and I'm not sure if it's because you deem my posts unworthy of thought or they are too challenging.

Heralder:
Heralder, Skeletor's remarks yesterday served no purpose at all.

He was asked, he answered. Like I mentioned, it wasn't a press conference, it was an interview. He also prefaced this feeling with reasons as to why he felt that way. I really don't see the drama or the fearmongering.

mantis:

I gotta agree with Heralder (again) on this one. Chertoff did not call a press conference in an election runup to tout some vague (and possibly dubious) threat no one could do anything about (a la Tom Ridge/John Ashcroft), he simply shared his concerns that we may be especially vulnerable this summer, considering the track record of attacks on the west in recent years. These are legitimate concerns brought up in the context of an interview covering many topics.

We've seen this administration manipulating the threat of terrorism and preying on the public's fears before, but this doesn't seem like that to me. It doesn't fit the pattern.

Heralder:

Larkin,

Thanks for the reply:

What exactly do you do differently know that you "know of risks" that Chertoff raised?

I do nothing differently. Chertoff didn't actually say anything breaking anyway, it can all be found in the news.
I don't seek out information unless it's very specific. But I'll tell you, if the subway stops under the East River and the lights go out, I don't think "Oh crap, I need to vote for Bush!"

This is exactly the sort of result that bin Laden wants. He wants us to live in a climate of perpetual fear.

And yet we don't. We go on. We go to the movies, we fly, we write on blogs, we travel abroad, we continue to live in places that would be the first target for another attack. All this despite knowing there will be another...and yet you accuse Chertoff's comments of aiming to instill this 'climate of fear'.

We aren't living in perpetual fear, Larkin. You can be observant and vigilant, you can check every news report on terror threats without living in fear.

It's foolish to get people worked up about this.

He was asked a question in an interview and he answered with his opinion. The only people worked up over I've seen are those criticizing his comments.

What's worse they've cried "wolf" so many times that people aren't even listening anymore. They just tune it out.

Which contradicts your statement about a "Climate of Fear".

bryanD:

DHS is a playpen for the kids and family of Administration nabobs. Cheney's son-in-law, Gen. Myer's niece, and in-law Chertoff.

Who knows what Skeletor meant. These aren't serious people, which is of course dangerous.

Heralder:

Larkin,

You give far too much credence to semantics, especially from a man that has been called just about every incarnation of stupid that I can think of.

Largely because of the efforts by some of us to expose what they are doing. Refer to Lee's links to the campaign videos that the Republicans were using.

Sorry to condescend, but anyone with too much time on their hands can slice phrases out of various speeches and edit them together. To then say that that is major contributing factor in freeing the general American populace from this 'climate of fear' comes across as a gross overestimation of one's self-importance.

In the end it appears a little more like rationalizing your previous comment that I bolded...i.e., "No one listens any more and there is no climate of fear because we've dispelled it."

I think "Oops" would have been a more appropriate response.

kim:

Go back to sleep, boys and girls; if radical Islam did not exist, Bush would have to invent it.
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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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