Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Osamaphobia

The attacks of 9/11 caused 2,752 deaths on US soil. Since that day, our government has filled our minds with warnings that al-Qaeda could strike at any moment with dirty bombs, anthrax, and poison gas. The United States has been gripped with fear for almost five years, and we've launched warfare in two unrelated theatres.

But, by my calculation, 9/11 happens every 23 days. In 23 days, approximately 2,700 people are killed in automobile accidents in this country (based on 2004 numbers). Since 9/11, nearly 200,000 Americans have died in their cars and motorcycles, and not a single person has died as a result of a terrorist attack on US soil.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a phobia as "A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it..." I know a thing or two about phobias. I spent 8 years from 1997 to 2005 grounded with a phobia of commercial airlines. A common question I heard from friends and family in those years was "why aren't you paralyzed with fear over driving?"

Americans, and conservatives in particular, are suffering a mad case of Osamaphobia. They fear that at any moment terrorists could strike US soil, killing thousands, and only George Bush, wiretaps, and a policy of unending war in the middle east can stop them. But this fear is completely irrational. You hear over and over again that Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and all the rest are advocating policies that save American lives. If they were truly interested in protecting American lives, they'd put those wiretaps in our cars, to root out dangerous drivers.

The "protecting American lives" argument for war and domestic wiretaps is phony. It's smoke and mirrors. Maybe these policies are not, in fact, about American life, but about power, control, and money. Pay no attention to your personal safety. Continue to purchase new automobiles. Continue drinking. Don't worry about your health insurance. It is the TERRORISTS who want to kill you. LET'S GO TO WAR!!!

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