Letter To The Editor: Terror Alert System Spreads Fear

By and


I’m writing in response to the Feb. 12 U-Wire opinion column by David Bellis, “Ignorance Alert Runs High in U.S.” The author deftly ignores a logical loop that is implicit to the argument proposed both by the “liberal left” and those who share his own opinion. The argument against the elevation to orange status on the terrorism alert scale is that the reasons for doing so were never clarified. The only thing we heard in the big media was that the FBI was searching for an illegal Palestinian immigrant. We were spared more specific details.

Supposedly, if the reasons for this scare were elaborated more fully, suspected terrorists would have little difficulty fleeing capture. It seems to me, however, that another reason is possible, that the terror scale is simply a media event, an arbitrary manipulation of the masses to fear the Eastern other. We are told that we must not know because they must not know. We are being prepared for an attack that many of us may not support.

Bellis cannot dismiss the liberal argument as any more paranoid than his own argument, because buying into the terror scale is paranoid by definition: it finds meaning in everything, in the media, in the discourse of government leaders and the new video messages of Osama bin Laden.

It is possible to say, by a shift of perspective, that our government, which implemented the terror scale, symbolically poses a threat in the same way that it claims Hussein does, because the ostensible Iraqi attack is given to us by their relay, through their mouths, without any explanation whatsoever. Perhaps our paranoia scale runs high, on both sides, rather than either our terror or ignorance scales.

Scott Ries

Sophomore, Film Studies