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We Must Join the World

Reported by Eleanor - July 30, 2004 -

Benjamin Barber, author of Fear's Empire: War, Terrorism & Democracy, discussed Bush's War on Terror with Bill Moyers, NOW on PBS (July 30, 9:37 p.m.). He said that the democrats are now playing on Bush's field.

According to Barber, the War on Terror is currently a permanent state of war. National security, homeland security, and foreign policy have been seen as republican issues. The democrats are suggesting a set of strategies, policies, or themes that involve not just terrorism. The "catastrophic threat" presented in the 9/11 Report is like a cancerous tumor, a systematic undermining of the immune system that allows the cancer to grow. Al Qaeda is radical Islam. Radical meaning normal religion under siege. The radicalism comes from conditions around them. Moyers called them "an illusive network of stateless killers."

Berger stated that as long as we fight the War on Terror on "fear's turf," we cannot win. Fear captures us. We have been in a perpetual state of fear since 9/11. Boston this week with the police and tanks everywhere felt like a military fortress. Osama bin Laden likes the "shock and awe" that is America. We must create conditions that discourage terrorists, rather than encourage them. We need to create a wide campaign of education for alienated Muslim youth. Help Muslim nations, rather than rain down war on them.

What to do? Target the real danger. Inspect container ships. Inspect the cargo holds of planes. Stop the proliferation of weapons that we sell for profit. The terrorists are powerless, so their weapon is fear. We are constricting our liberties. Fear and fear's empire rules us.

Barber's thesis is that Bush is "mistaken in his means." We must know HOW to keep the world safe. We can't depend on war and attack. Is Iran next? Take on North Korea? Invade Indonesia or Pakistan? Have war after preventive war? Since 9/11, we are being forced to join a world at risk for the first time, that the rest of the world has lived in for a long time. The world is interconnected - not separate. Everyone must flourish, not just a few. To Bush, the world must join us. The opposite is true. America must join the world.