Republicans and Fear

 

PFC Jones with Mine-Detector. Want to talk about fear?
PFC Jones with Mine-Detector. Want to talk about fear?

W.J. Astore

Why, looky here, another article in the New York Times that examines the Republican “hawks” posturing for a presidential run in 2016.  As the article blurb states, “Republicans are scrambling to outmuscle one another on national security issues.”  It’s all about looking tough and calling for more boots on the ground in battles against ISIS and terror everywhere.

Here’s the money quote:

“There’s a lot of fear out there,” said Katon Dawson, a former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, noting that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, had become a regular topic of discussion at his regular breakfast spot in Columbia, the Lizard’s Thicket. “The waitresses and managers and everybody there has a notion about ISIL. People understand who this group is now.”

I should think the waitresses at “Lizard’s Thicket” would be more fearful of paying their weekly and monthly bills, given the low wages earned by wait staff in America.  Or that they and their customers would be more fearful of their sons and daughters in uniform being deployed to Iraq to showcase those “muscles” that Republican politicians are always trying to flex.  (Don’t worry: No politicians, Republican or Democrat, are eager to send their own sons and daughters overseas to fight.)

Once again, Republican politicians are banging the drums of fear – and as my dad always said, the empty barrel makes the most noise.  The music is as tragic as it is predictable: endless war in the name of looking tough and defeating terror.  And anyone who dares to suggest the folly of this risks being tarred as an appeaser to ISIS and its ilk.

What burns my butt is that none of these blowhard politicians has any skin in the game.  They risk nothing in bleating for war.  It’s not their sons and daughters who are being deployed to the front lines.

The other day, I was talking to a young woman at my eye doctor’s office.  Her brother is in the Army.  She told me he’s an EOD, an explosive ordnance disposal specialist.  A risky job, I said, to which she replied, “He volunteered for the extra money,” money that the Army has yet to pay him.  He’s got a four-year commitment and is due to be deployed after his training is completed.

So, as they seek to “outmuscle” their political rivals, how many politicians’ sons are in the Army right now, training for EOD duty and risking their lives for the extra money that comes with this hazardous duty?  My educated guess: none.  Absolutely none.

It’s easy to flex (and to risk) the muscles of others, America.  Stop listening to politicians and their fear-mongering.  No foreign terrorist is coming to get you as you enjoy your coffee and hash browns at “Lizard’s Thicket.”  No – the biggest risk is blowhard politicians who are so, so, eager to send your sons and daughters off to yet more wars in the cause of outmuscling their rivals for political office.