At the mercy of our fears

Ok, we just found out that the world is a dangerous place, but America is making it more dangerous, in fact as well as in its imagination.

We are like a nation that has had a psychological break and is descending into rank paranoia. The destruction of the twin towers shows that there are things to be afraid of, but our government's mad responses are making us more vulnerable to such things, not less.

The ''war on terrorism'' has strengthened the hand of those who hate America. The US example of ''overwhelming force'' has pushed the Middle East into the abyss and has dragged India-Pakistan to its edge. The only real protections against cross-border terrorism are international structures of criminal justice like the recently established International Criminal Court, yet an ''unsigning'' United States slaps the court down with contempt.

Since September we have squandered our wealth and focus on a huge war while neglecting police work and intelligence at home and abroad. Hence the vagueness of the current warning. And how dare our government set off alarms about Cuba's putative bioterrorism project while it has done nothing to apprehend the anthrax killer? Oh, and - forgive me, just asking - where is Osama?

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Published on May 21, 2002 1:39 PM.

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