Montana Politics US Politics

Conrad Burns and the Politics of Fear; How about the Politics of Accountability?

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I’m just a simple person, but I’ll admit I am embarrassed by my inability to understand the Republicans’ repeated use of the politics of fear to win elections. From what I can understand from their ads, from aditorials in the Missoulian, and the brave columnists waging the war on terror in their air conditioned offices, I should be living in a state of constant fear.  Al Qaeda is resurgent and an imminent threat, continued failure in Iraq threatens my life, Osama bin Laden is on the loose, and terrorists could attack me at any time–especially if I take a cab ride.

Okay, I can understand all of that. I don’t believe it, but I can understand the argument. Where I get confused is the point where all of those things become reasons to vote for the party that has controlled the federal government–all of its branches–during the majority of this conflict. Why would fear of terrorism cause me to vote for the party that has so badly mismanaged the conflict that America is in a more tenuous position in the world than we were before 9/11?

So when Conrad Burns runs this shameful, dishonest attacks against Jon Tester, ask yourself a few questions:

1) Why has Osama bin Laden not been captured?  Why is he still releasing recruiting tapes? Why did the Senate have to vote to restore funding to continue the search for the man who was responsible for 9/11?

2) How did the United States fail to win the war in Afghanistan? Five years after 9/11, Afghanistan is a failed state, embroiled in bitter conflict, largely because the Bush Administration failed to send enough troops into the country to do the job. Instead of listening to Colin Powell–a man who had won wars, they listened to Donald Rumsfeld– a bureaucrat who talks tough, but doesn’t listen.

3) Why is Iraq on the road to full-scale Civil War? Why, 3 years after Bush and Rumsfeld declared we had won the war, are more American troops being sent into the country? Why, a year after General Casey predicted significant troops withdrawals, is he suggesting there will be no redeployment for 12-18 months? Why is Iraq now a haven for Al Qaeda terrorists, despite the Senate concluding that there was no connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda before the war?

All of those questions pale in comparison to the most important question: what have the Republicans done to make us more safe? Apparently nothing. If the security of the United States is so tenuous that we can’t vote for reasons other than fear, what have they done?

Someone mismanaged this war, against the advice of the generals. Someone alienated our allies. Someone failed to capture Osama bin Laden. It wasn’t our troops in the field, who have struggled to overcome what the govt. has failed to do. It wasn’t the American people, who have supported efforts against terrorism, and it wasn’t the Democratic party. Someone needs to be held accountable–and these ads by Conrad Burns are the best reminder who that someone is: the President who has failed to prosecute this war this war effectively, and the rubber stamp Congress that has failed to make him accountable.

It’s time to vote for leaders, not fear-mongering followers.

Update: Matt’s not happy about Conrad’s ads, either.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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