Buying Into The Big Lie Threatens Us All
We all woke up this morning, in a world already rocked by the violence and vitriol of extremists, to find that our sense that we are somehow safe from the repeated acts of terror has been shaken to the core once again.
No shock or surprise here. The Underground in London. A railway in Madrid. A financial center in New York. All prime – and, unfortunately, easy - targets for those who value fanatical ideologies over human life.
Fact is, we abhor terror. Indeed, we must condemn such acts against humanity and civility whenever and wherever they take place, hunting down the real “evil-doers,” not so much in the name of democracy, but in the hope of preserving what little is left of civilization on this now shattered planet.
We, as New Yorkers, commiserate with Londoners, and with the victims of terror everywhere. Know this: Londoners are among the most resolute people on the face of the Earth, and it will take a whole lot more than a few bombings to bring about their capitulation.
None of us will surrender to the will of those bent on the destruction of the human race and of society’s mainstream values (wherever those “values” may be holed up in the era of extremism, both at home and abroad). Yet, we must not be blinded – or, for that matter, sidetracked – into a false sense of homeland security, buoyed and perpetuated by a systematic propaganda machine that posts color-coded alerts, asks us to be vigilant as we go about our business (meaning: turn in your neighbor if he has a foreign sounding name), and tells us, with exuberant confidence, that we are “winning the War on Terror.”
We should be afraid – and very afraid – not of terror or of terrorists – F--- them! We should be afraid of the Big Lie. The lie told repeatedly by those we have elected (okay, that someone elected. We can’t seem to find anyone willing to say he pulled the lever for “W”) to lead us. The lie that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The lie that Iraq’s insurgency has anything to do with Al Queada, with terrorism, with 9-11, or even with an effort to restore a brutal dictator to power. The lie that we are forging democracy, this in a nation that doesn’t want it and wouldn’t know what to do with it if they had it. The lie that a war that has already cost us billions of dollars and tragically claimed thousands of young, useful lives has made a dent in breaking the will of the terrorists, or in hitting them where they live, where they train, where they continue to plot – over the Internet, no less – their next vicious, savage attack.
The terrorists aren’t in Iraq. Question whether they ever were. No, they’re in London. They’re in Madrid. They’re right here among us in New York. Pay no attention to the fact that our bridges and tunnels are vulnerable (why, a terrorist could, with ease, hide an explosive device in one of the many abandoned vehicles that sit beneath bridges and underpasses along heavily traveled arteries, taking out perhaps but a few, yet terrorizing many). And just drive by any of our government buildings – including those in our own backyard – and ask how difficult it would be for anyone to drive a tanker truck full of explosive material right up to the doorstep. Ah, but don’t worry about that. The action is in Iraq. Yeah, that’s the ticket. We’ve got Mosil and Takrit covered.
We’d like to believe that we are safe, that our children are out of harm’s way. We are not safe, and every one of us continues to be a potential target. We’d like to believe our government – on all levels – when they assure us that they are doing everything possible to protect us, to find and destroy the terrorists, as much as we’d like to believe that those in attendance at the G-8 Conference really give a hoot and a holler about Aids in Africa, about an impoverished world where millions die of starvation, and about the threat posed to our very existence by global warming. Sorry, but they really aren’t, don’t and, if the world wasn’t watching with half an eye, would probably be off somewhere drilling for oil or trading food for dollars. Heck, they do that even when we are watching.
As we will not submit to the wanton will of the terrorist, we must not buy into the Big Lie. For the dangers to democracy, to society, to the freedoms we so cherish and all too frequently send other people’s children off to die for, come not so much from Al Queada or Bin Laden, but rather, from within.