The intended outcome of marketing fear

Today Seth Godin wrote:

Years ago, the authorities [that would be Bush, Cheney] decided that a key weapon in the war on terror (sic) would be to make people more afraid.

Two reasons for this: if you make potential bad guys afraid , they might not move up and graduate to become actual bad guys [make suicide bombers afraid?], and ... at least it looks like you were trying.

So Seth Godin is accusing our government leaders of being hopeless idiots who were just out to save their political hides from responsibility, with a convoluted plan -- it's a mistake in their marketing plan, where they forgot their end goals.

The truth is simpler, something we would recognize instantly in any other nation: fear wasn't being used to fight terrorism, terrorism was being use to generate fear, more fear than the terrorists managed to create on their own. The fear was then used for other political purposes [Iraq, Patriot Act controls]. This is right in front of our noses, the obvious answer to color-coded terror alerts and so on.

Why do we continue to avoid the answer that makes quick sense of our government's choices after 9/11, preferring convoluted answers? Governments generating fear to mobilize a country for an optional war is old, old news. Patriotic Americans should wish it didn't happen here, not believe it doesn't when they see it.

[ Convoluted, complex answers that were anti-Bush also sometimes got silly: Bush and Cheney couldn't be despised for using terrorism, to so many people they had to be behind it, had to be the architects of 9/11. The answer in front of our faces wasn't exciting enough? ]

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