America was founded on courage.
For example, I've read a number of biographies of George Washington, who was actually a horrible general. Washington's early campaigns were disastrous, and the entire Revolutionary War was almost lost due to Washington's early miscalculations (for example, his first major battle was fought from a low, exposed position, so that the British forced a surrender by seizing the high ground).
But Washington was brave. He always rode with his soldiers into battle at the front of the line, even when there were waves of incoming cannon balls being hurled in his direction. (Because Washington was unusually tall for his day, that made him an easy target). Washington's courage - and his willingness to consistently fight on the front lines with his men - was one of the main factors in the success of the American Revolution.
The courage of the men at Valley Forge was also a turning point in the war. Slogging on through the dead of winter without shoes inspired a nation.
On the other hand, cowardice makes people stupid and docile.
Fear of Hurting the Big Banks Has Destroyed the Economy
The New York Times wrote in 2008:
“The rescue is being sold as a must-have emergency measure by an administration with a controversial record when it comes to asking Congress for special authority in time of duress.”***
Mr. Paulson has argued that the powers he seeks are necessary to chase away the wolf howling at the door: a potentially swift shredding of the American financial system. That would be catastrophic for everyone, he argues, not only banks, but also ordinary Americans who depend on their finances to buy homes and cars, and to pay for college.
Some are suspicious of Mr. Paulson’s characterizations, finding in his warnings and demands for extraordinary powers a parallel with the way the Bush administration gained authority for the war in Iraq. Then, the White House suggested that mushroom clouds could accompany Congress’s failure to act. This time, it is financial Armageddon supposedly on the doorstep.
“This is scare tactics to try to do something that’s in the private but not the public interest,” said Allan Meltzer, a former economic adviser to President Reagan, and an expert on monetary policy at the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business. “It’s terrible.”
Indeed, Congressmen Brad Sherman, Congressman Paul Kanjorski and Senator James Inhofe all say that the government used scare tactics by warning of martial law if Tarp wasn't passed:
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind quotes Geithner as saying:
The confidence in the system is so fragile still… a disclosure of a fraud… could result in a run, just like Lehman.
Former IMF economist Simon Johnson notes:
The main motivation behind the administration’s indulgence of serious criminality evidently is fear of the consequences of taking tough action on individual bankers.
The Obama administration is prosecuting fewer financial crimes than under Reagan or either Bush, and the government’s entire strategy now – as during the S&L crisis – is to cover up how bad things are.
Wall Street fraud caused the Great Depression and the current financial crisis. Top economists and financial experts agree that the economy will never recover unless Wall Street fraud is prosecuted.
Because of the cowardice of the government and the people to get tough and throw Wall Street fraud-mongers in jail (or even to shut off the spigot of never-ending bailouts), our economy has been destroyed.
Fear of Terror Has Destroyed Our Liberties
Sociologists say that fear of terrorism makes people blindly accept false justifications for war.
That is why false flag terrorism - which governments around the world admit that they carry out - has been so effective for 2,000 plus years in allowing government leaders to convince the people that we should go to war.
Government officials say that 9/11 was a state-sponsored attack. Some say that it was Iran, Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Israel or other countries which backed the attack.
9/11 was - at the least - criminal incompetence and then obstruction of justice, and blowback for U.S. support of Al Qaeda over many decades. At worst, it was false flag terror by the U.S.
Whatever it was, our failure to be brave enough to look without blinking has ruined our country.
Specifically, top economists say that endless war bankrupts a nation.
The endless wars have also been a main component of America’s soaring debt:
And huge debts exert a very real drag on the economy.
We wouldn’t have launched the war against Iraq – or the endless panoply of wars throughout the Middle East and North America – if 9/11 had actually been in investigated.
The police state also started in 2001. Specifically, on 9/11, Vice President Dick Cheney initiated Continuity of Government Plans that ended America’s constitutional form of government (at least for some undetermined period of time.) On that same day, a national state of emergency was declared … and that state of emergency has continuously been in effect up until today.
It is beyond dispute that 9/11 was entirely foreseeable, but – due to the extreme negligence and incompetence or lack of caring of the Bush administration (remember, I’m not getting into any other theories in this post) it wasn’t stopped. Even the chair of the 9/11 Commission said that the attack was preventable.
If there had been a real 9/11 investigation, the government's criminal incompetence (or worse) and idiotic policies of backing Al Qaeda would have come to light. And Americans would have learned that terrorism can largely be prevented if the military and intelligence officers are simply allowed to do their job.
Americans would have learned through any real 9/11 investigation that Cheney’s negligence and mucking around in what should have been the generals’ jobs was partly responsible for allowing 9/11 to happen (Cheney was in charge of all of America’s counter-terrorism exercises, activities and responses on 9/11. See this Department of State announcement and this CNN article. He messed up.).
In other words, a real 9/11 investigation would have shown Americans that 9/11 should of, could of, and would have been stopped – and that America can protect itself against future terrorist attacks – simply by playing goalie well in our country.
And Americans – instead of being scared into immobility – would have been mad at our government for dropping the ball. And we would have demanded accountability and effective service from our elected officials. (Indeed, experts have repeatedly demonstrated that fear of terror makes people stupid … and makes them willing to accept a loss of liberty and other abuses they would never otherwise accept.)
The Road Not Taken
Americans were led to believe that Al Qaeda was going to get us unless we took the fight to the Middle East and North Africa. The administration pretended that Saddam Hussein had a hand in 9/11 – one of the main justifications for that war.
Had a real 9/11 investigation been conducted before we launched the Iraq war, it would have taken away one of the two main rationales for that war. (The FBI was also instructed to blame the anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda, and high-level government officials pointed towards Iraq as the source of the anthrax, even though there was absolutely no basis for those claims. But that’s another story.)
Dan Rather was right when he wrote:
We have been so afraid; so hell bent on destroying enemies … both foreign and domestic … we have hurt ourselves and our democracy.
Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser also told the Senate in 2007 that the war on terror is so overblown that it is “a mythical historical narrative”.
And as I noted in 2008:
Former deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats, a 23-year senior CIA analyst, who “drafted or was involved in many of the government’s most senior assessments of the threats facing our country [and who] devoted years to understanding and combating the jihadist threat”, writes today in the Washington Post that the neocons have whipped us into an irrational fear of the terrorism. In reality, “Osama bin Laden and his disciples are small men and secondary threats whose shadows are made large by our fears” and our leaders.
This is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. The BBC produced a documentary called The Power of Nightmares in 2005 that showed that politicians were greatly exaggerating the terrorist threat for political ends.
And unfortunately, many in government have intentionally whipped up fear in the American public for their own political purposes. For example, FBI agents and CIA intelligence officials, constitutional law expert professor Jonathan Turley, Time Magazine, Keith Olbermann and the Washington Post have all said that U.S. government officials “were trying to create an atmosphere of fear in which the American people would give them more power”.
And former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge admits that he was pressured to raise terror alerts to help Bush win reelection. Fear sells.
And because 9/11 was never really investigated, the government – instead of doing the things which could actually make us safer – are doing things which increase the risk of terrorism.
As such, the threats from terrorism form even more of a “justification” for a suspension of our Constitutional rights.
The failure to investigate 9/11 has bankrupted America financially and morally, and has allowed us to stand idly by while our liberty has been destroyed.
What Do Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Spiritual Leaders Say About Fear?
Courage is being scared ... but facing things anyway.
Let's take 9/11 as an example. Numerous mental health experts - including the following list - say that fear of questioning the government's cartoonish "we couldn't have foreseen this or done anything to protect the homeland" version of 9/11 is an unhealthy, fear-based delusion which has led to an authoritarian regime in the U.S.:
- Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Lester Grinspoon, MD
- Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, as well as Radiology, at Duke University Medical Center D. Lawrence Burk, Jr., MD
- Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Rutgers University Barry R. Komisaruk
- Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine and Distinguished Professor of Global Health in the College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Michael D. Knox
- Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Laura Schafer
- Professor of Psychology, Rutgers University Alan Gilchrist
- Professor Emeritus, Psychology and Neuroscience, Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Michael Gabriel
- Former Chief Mental Health Coordinator and Director of Manpower Development and Training, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, and Lecturer in Psychology, Boston University Herbert Hoffman
- Professor of Psychology, University of Chicago and Northwestern University Jack Sawyer
- Professor of Psychology at University of New Hampshire William Woodward
- Professor of Psychology at University of Essex Philip Cozzolino
- Professor of Psychology at Goddard College Catherine Lowther
- Professor Emeritus of Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies Ralph Metzner
- Professor of Psychology at Rhodes University Mike Earl-Taylor
- Professor of Psychology at Oxford University Graham Harris
- Professor Emeritus, Psychology, University of Marburg Gert Sommer
- Professor of Psychology, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Ralph Hood
- Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Jefferson Medical College. Former Major, U.S. Army Medical Corps, Vietnam Veteran 7 years service, Jon Bjornson, MD
- Ph.D. Clinical Neuropsychologist Richard Welser
- Trauma specialist Danielle Duperret, Ph.D.
- Psychiatrist Carol S. Wolman, MD
- Psychiatrist E. Martin Schotz
- Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nebraska and licensed Psychologist Ronald Feintech
- PhD in clinical psychology from Texas Tech Michael Green
- PhD in educational psychology Brent Igo
- PhD psychologist Paul Johansson
- PhD psychologist Gail Maudal
- PhD psychologist Robert Hopper
- Ph.D Psychologist Dorothy Lorig
- Psychologist Robert Griffin
In other words, ministers, priests, psychiatrists, psychologists, trauma experts, sociologists and other mental health experts say that failure to stand up and face our deepest fears is destroying us as individuals ... and as a nation.