News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


The politics of fear plays well for President Bush

Democrats say President Bush is using the politics of fear to keep his supporters from straying in the November General Elections. Certainly, there is evidence of that, even in the supposedly nonpartisan talk the president delivered from the Oval Office commemorating the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.

One line in his address particularly stands out as insincere, given the way his generals continue to conduct the war in Iraq.

"The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad," he said.

By many accounts, the United States is losing that battle to sectarian fighters and terrorists who filled the vacuum left by the deposed Saddam Hussein. So, if Americans are to take the president's word that our lives are in peril because of events in Baghdad, shouldn't we mobilize immediately to defeat the enemy? The longer the battle goes on, the weaker the U.S. appears, which offers encouragement to militant Muslims to continue their terrorism.

The president also called for Americans to put aside differences and fight to victory. That's a good soundbite. Yet, he consistently shows no signs of compromise and labels his war critics as unpatriotic.

Someone recently contrasted the way President Bush and the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt took the nation to war. Mr. Roosevelt said we have nothing to fear but fear itself as he calmed a frightened, but angry nation.

Mr. Bush's approach is to keep Americans living in fear in order to command their political loyalty.

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