Bits and Pieces

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

A Heightened State of Paranoia

I read this 'news' on the AOL homepage earlier.

'Al-Qaeda terrorists and their supporters are set to use nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in deadly strikes, a CIA report claims.'

The story was basically centred around the idea that Al Qaeda may attempt to use unconventional weapons against us in the future. I'd read the entire article before it occurred to me that it didn't say anything. There was no new information. Hell, there wasn't even old information, just pointless scare-mongering.

It strikes me that this war against terror is only being kept alive by this constant, deafening flood of overblown rhetoric about the 'threat' that we all face. Without the consant noise we may be more inclined to think for a moment about how real the threats are. We would ask questions like 'is there a great chance of myself or a friend or relative being involved in a terror attack?' The answer, of course is no.

Not only is the real threat insignificant, the terrorist threat today is many times less severe than it was when I was younger. In fact, I was caught in the IRA bombing of Manchester in 1996. Even after multiple terror attacks on my home soil there was less paranoia in the press. We were aware of the reality of the threat, and there was no need to overstate it.

So what conclusions can we draw from this? Could it be that there is very little real threat? Could it be that we are being kept in this state of fear and tension to allow our governments to stop us from questioning their actions? Could it be that this is all a smokescreen? Or am I just cynical?

To quote the CIA report, 'One goal of any attempted strike would be spread "panic and disruption." Hey, they learned it from the best.
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