Passivity is not innocence - R.H. Joseph

Is the Bush league generating public fear for political purposes? Are there limits to how far the Republican Party will go to enhance the president's prospects for election (not re-election)?

Manipulating the psychological state of the general public in service to a surreptitious political agenda is demonstrably part of the party's insidious modus operandi. You don't hear much about it now but if you recall, Iraq posed an imminent threat to America. Mushroom clouds loomed.

Therefore, when Attorney General John Ashcroft tells us terrorists may be planning an attack against the G-8 summit or a political convention, we must ask, does it make sense?

Let me give you an example. If you were being attacked by an armored vehicle surrounded by a bunch of foot soldiers and all you had was small arms at your disposal would you fire at the tank or the foot soldiers?

Why would Islamic militants attack hardened targets like the Democratic and Republican conventions or the G-8 summit? By now it should be clear these people are not fools.

Consider their recent attacks on significant petroleum producing centers in Saudi Arabia. A few men can potentially affect global oil production and prices. America is a petroleum junkie and our country would be undone by a serious disruption in the availability of its metaphorical heroin.

Al-Qaida is also well aware it does not require a significant body count to fight its war effectively in the continental United States, only the propagation of fear. The Bush league is not the only political entity employing the effective psychological exploitation of malleable Americans to achieve its goals.

Furthermore, the percipient leaders of the Islamic militants have learned to employ those willing to die for their cause far more efficiently than in attacks upon well-fortified targets.

To unsettle the American public all terrorists need do is to continue to attack any number of the endless accessible "soft" targets. Consider the mindset of those in the Washington, D.C. area a while back whilst our home-grown snipers were still at large.

With regard to Ashcroft's recent suggestion that the Democratic and Republican political conventions and the G-8 conference are probable targets, the Bush league is most likely playing a more sophisticated game at your expense.

Those responsible for its propaganda campaign understand Bush's ratings were highest when a frightened public looked to our national father figure for the illusion of competence and guardianship. The malleable found solace in his cowboy rhetoric: "Dead or alive!" "Bring it on!"

Americans are currently less inclined to take refuge in such hollow bombast and therein lies Bush's and the Republican Party's problem.

As the president's ratings are now at their lowest point since the attack on the World Trade Center the Republican propaganda machine must encourage voters to once again view the nation's figurehead as they had before all the lies and mismanagement and human rights abuses became so obvious.

To this end Republican leadership may well be creating an artificial crisis during the same period in which the president is going to address the public on television frequently during the next few weeks. They scare us and then have Bush comfort us.

It's time to wake up and smell the deceit!

If you recall, following Sept. 11 the propaganda machine continually referred to the dead as "innocent." I disagreed at the time and continue to do so for the same reason.

Ultimately the buck doesn't stop at the president's desk. The citizens of America are its government and we are responsible for its behavior.

The Bush league relies upon American citizens to abjure their responsibility, to remain passive and receptive to its torrent of lies, dissembling and obscene suggestion that theirs is divinely inspired mission.

Of course they tell you those that died in the World Trade Center were innocent. It is in the present government's interest to divest you of the responsibility that is first and foremost yours.

When Americans accept the well-crafted, insidious rhetoric of the Bush league at face value the Bush league wins. When Americans refuse to accept responsibility for the behavior of their government the Bush league wins. When Americans relinquish their responsibility to vote the Bush league wins.

When Americans accept, when Americans refuse, and when Americans relinquish they are not, perforce, innocent.

R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at rjoseph@news-daily.com.