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Just what does the politics of fear have going for it? Well, for one thing, it worked well in 2002 and 2004, so it will work forever. Or so the propaganda went.

In 2006, a funny thing happened, the Republicans lost both the house and the Senate. And since then, too, Democrats have won seats to the House from red states. So much for the Neocon agenda--they overplayed their hand. America is now seeing reformation in politics.

Bush still rants about appeasement at every opportunity, while his Secretary of State talks to North Korea and his Secretary of Defense is actively looking for ways to sit down with the Iranians. Hypocrisy to the core, this man of war--self-proclaimed and by action. No longer do people jump to his command--well, a few Neocon diehards still do. But the jig is up. When one speaks with the forked-tip tongue of a snake, one must take care which fork does the talking. Mr Bush has lost this talent, and not a moment too soon for the rest of us. Some in his administration see the road clearly; just as clearly, Mr. Bush does not.

No longer is Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler a metaphor of fear. No longer do people believe Iraq is a threat like the Germany of 1941 to be smashed at all costs. Thanks to Mr McCain's heart-felt remark, many voters realize the Republicans aim to stay in Iraq even at the cost of a 50-100 years war. Sure the situation differs from that of Vietnam in origin and detail. Just as surely Iraq is an even hotter and more complex issue for the long term.

The Japan, Germany and South Korean occupations were brought on by attacks on us or allies. In Vietnam, we elected to step in after the French were defeated--long years later we too admitted defeat. In Germany, Japan, and South Korea, morality was on our side. In Vietnam and Iraq, we were/are on the wrong side morally. Even the current Iraqi government believes that.

In Vietnam, the whole of the Communist block opposed us just as the whole of Islam today opposes our occupation of Iraq. Have we forgotten our own Boston Tea Party?

Recent events affirm the truth of Franklin Roosevelt's remark to America before WWII:

"The only thing we have to fear
is fear itself."

What Roosevelt failed to expand on is that the Sociopath or Psychopath can instill fear in us even as s/he dehumanizes an innocent people. Afghanistan had to happen the way it did. Had we bridled our aggressive instincts and kept our national integrity, we may have been able to convert Afghanistan into a strong and independent democracy, provided we left soon enough to avoid insurrections sure to follow any lengthy stay. We elected to do neither. We also lost big time in the war of ideas. Our own deceit deceived us in Iraq--just to keep the record straight.

The Republicans will have to make amends deeply and in a hurry to have much chance in November. But McCain is in a crack, damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't. He needs the traditional hard right to win, so he has to snuggle up to deceit and his moneybags. But that is not the way to win over the moderates, let alone the many Democrats disgruntled over Clinton's loss.

We must remember that deceit is a temptation that goes with having power. No political party has a corner on this character defect. For the immediate future, we can only hope Obama can begin straightening things out.


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