Daily Dose Of Anxiety, Fear And Aggression
Courtesy of The New York Times

by Gilles d'Aymery

March 3, 2003


To figure out how the Bush Regime gets away with its insane policies, both foreign and domestic, one needs to understand the American state of mind.

In short, America is frozen not only by a harsh winter but more so by fear and anxiety, emotions that lead to reactionary, aggressive sentiments. We are afraid -- afraid to lose our job, our health insurance, our way of life. We fear the 'terrorists,' those 'barbarians' at the gate, ready to strike another lethal blow to the country and to our psyche.

We've gone through the exhilarating '90s with growth and economic expansion without end, crossing the bridge to the 21st century filled with self-confidence and optimism. We were the envy of the world, the beacon of freedom and success. We had defeated our arch-enemy, the former Soviet Union. As the last superpower we could no nothing wrong. We were intoxicated with our own successes, the prowess of our system, the best in the world of course; and our values were spreading all over the planet through the neo-liberal globalization. We could dream the future and make the dream happen (if only we worked hard at it).

Then came the morning after. We woke up with a slight hangover, in the midst of financial scandals, tech bubble, lingering recession, budget deficits, shattered retirement plans, unemployment, curtailed social services...and we got hit real hard by 9/11.

In a nutshell, that's a hell of a lot of bad news, more than enough to get our collective psyche in shambles. We feel besieged by events and want to take control of our future back from all the perceived enemies and adversaries out there. We don't even know who our friends really are anymore. How could the world be so ungrateful to us, we ask? How can it be that eighty or ninety percent of the world thinks or believes we are wrong? How can we be wrong? Aren't we the only force of good in these dark times?

Like any beleaguered tribe we instinctively circle the wagons. God almighty is on our side, says the President. We'll take Saddam out, and Iran, and Syria, and Libya, and North Korea, and China if need be. Hell, we'll take the entire world out... We can!

It's called Groupthink. The herd follows the leaders, all critical thoughts left behind.

How come?

Well, have you read the newspapers lately and watched TV?

Here is a little experiment. We've transcribed below all the headlines of The New York Times' front pages for the month of February (or almost the entire month -- we are missing two days). We've added the headlines of the Sundays' 'Week in Review' section and inserted a short description for the pictures (Pics) that are published on the front pages. It's a bit of a fastidious list to read (not as fastidious as typing it!) but it'll be worth your time. See if you can identify some kind of a pattern.


Feb. 1, 2003
(Sorry, missing the front page - Will add March 1, instead)

Sunday, Feb. 2, 2003
•  SHUTTLE BREAKS UP, 7 DEAD - Columbia, With Six Americans And Israeli, Is Lost Over Texas After Starting Descent.
•  'Roger,' And then silence
•  First the Air Shook With Sound, And Then Debris Rained Down
•  Inquiry Putting An Early Focus On Heat Tiles
•  Once Again, Spaceflight's Hometown Loses Its Heroes
•  The happy crew in space
•  Fed and Texas officials somberly praying over human remains.
In the 'Week in Review' section:
•  America's War Train Is Leaving The Station
•  Getting Religion on AIDS
•  War in Pashtunistan
•  Beijing Ducks
•  The Asian Factor

Feb. 3, 2003
•  NASA Finds Clues In Shuttle Disaster; No Delay On Iraq Plans, Bush Aides Say
•  Powell Set to Appear at U.N. This Week as Scheduled
•  Wide-Ranging Recovery Effort Finds Remains of Some Victims.
•  NASA Dismissed Advisers Who Warned About Shuttle
•  For Resolute Girl, The Traditions of India Imposed No Limits
•  More On the Shuttle
•  Bush leaving church
•  Memorials in Texas, India and Israel

Feb. 4, 2003
•  Debris Is Now Leading Suspect in Shuttle Catastrophe - New Details on Last Moments of The Flight
•  Shuttle's Chief Puts Pained, Steely Face on Shared Trauma
•  Bush's $2.2 Trillion Budget Proposes Record Deficits
•  U.S. Bombers on Alert to Deploy As Warning to the North Koreans
•  New Jersey Doctors Hold Back Services In Insurance Protest
•  Search team in Texas
•  Two pics of the shuttle liftoff showing 'debris'

Feb. 5, 2003
•  Powell to Charge Iraq Is Shifting Its Illegal Arms to Foil Inspectors.
•  Aid To Poor Faces Tighter Scrutiny
•  Hussein, in Interview Denies Ties to Qaeda
•  President Pledges U.S. Will Continue to Explore Space - Hails Lost Astronauts
•  NASA Was Told in 1990 About Vulnerable Tiles
•  Most Likely, Crew Sensed Something Had Gone Wrong
•  Talk in School of Risk and Rewards in Space
•  U.S. Olympic Chief Resigns in a Furor Over Ethics Issue
•  Bush and his wife at the memorial service in Houston
•  Three smaller pictures of grieving families
•  School children in a ceremony for the shuttle crew

Feb 6. 2003
•  Powell, In U.N. Speech, Presents Case To Show Iraq Has Not Disarmed - A Tone of Urgency - Concealment is charged in U.S. evidence for a possible war
•  Intelligence Break Led U.S. to Tie Envoy Killing to Iraq Qaeda Cell
•  NASA Now Doubts Tank Foam Debris Doomed Columbia - Shifting Course, Mystery Deepens
•  Hiring In Nation Hits Worst Slump in Nearly 20 Years.
•  Ashcroft Pushes Executions In More Cases in New York
•  Darn serious looking Powell showing a small vial of anthrax.
•  Iraqi test facility that is evidence of Iraqi 'deceitfulness.'

Feb. 7, 2003
•  U.S. Ready to Back New U.N. Measure On Iraq, Bush Says - More troops Set to Go - 'The Game Is Over,' President Declares
•  U.S. in Talks on Allowing Turkey to Occupy a Kurdish Area in Iraq
•  Many Balking At Vaccination For Smallpox
•  F.B.I. Seeking Help of Chinese Students
•  A Shuttle Leader Is ready 'To Go Fly Again'
•  A determined Bush, followed by Powell, walking to a White House news briefing
•  Commander of the next shuttle, Eileen Collins, sitting praying.

Feb. 8, 2003
•  France and China Rebuff Bush On Support for Early Iraq War
•  Bush Orders Increased Alert For Terrorist Attacks in U.S.
•  Hamas Leader Urges Retaliation Over Iraq
•  Significant Piece of Shuttle's Wing is Found in Texas
•  Cryptic Clues, New Questions Over Columbia
•  In California, S.U.V. Owners Have Guilt, but Will Travel
•  Telescopic photograph of the shuttle
•  Models preparing for a New York fashion show

Sunday Feb 9. 2003
(Missing the front page. Sorry. This must have been the day the NYT reported about the instructions from Tom Ridge...buying duct tape and plastic sheeting to defend ourselves against WMD...)
On the section, 'Week in Review':
•  Crises, Crises Everywhere. What Is A President To Do
•  Our Future In Space Is Already History
•  When President Bush invokes God, he knows of whom he speaks
•  Francophobia: Without the French, whom could Americans call 'perfidious'?

Feb 10, 2003
•  U.S. Demands Iraq Show Cooperation by This Weekend
•  A Terror Lieutenant With a Deadly Past
•  Kurdish leader Is assassinated In Militant Raid
•  Shuttle Testing Suggested Wings Were Vulnerable
•  Peace, Sniper Victims Find, Still Remains Elusive Goal
•  Gathering of mourners at Kurdish funeral
•  Motor homes in the Arizona desert

Feb 11, 2003
•  3 NATO Members and Russia Resist U.S. On Iraq Plans - Serious Rift in Alliance
•  Court Allows Making Inmate Sane Enough for Execution
•  Charity Leader Accepts a Deal In a Terror Case
•  New York Arts Cut Back In Money Pinch
•  NASA Says it Has Electronic Parts and Pieces of Wing
•  Grand Jury Says Long Island Diocese Hid Abuse
•  Alert on Terror: Security officers with rifles in Times Square
•  Muslims in Mecca for the Hajj

Feb. 12, 2003
•  Top U.S. Officials Tell Lawmakers Of Iraq-Qaeda Ties - Tape said to be bin Laden
•  Greenspan Throws Cold Water On Bush Arguments for Tax Cut
•  Tapes of Shuttle's Descent Show Dawning of Disaster
•  France Offering Plan to Expand Arms Hunt
•  Heads of FBI and CIA (Mueller and Tenet)
•  Dog show in New York

Feb. 13, 2003
•  Experts Confirm New Iraqi Missile Exceeds U.N. Limits - Range is beyond 90 miles
•  States and Cities See Response Gaps - Lack of Attack Readiness to Financing Delay by U.S.
•  C.I.A. Chief Sees bin Laden Tape as Urging Terror
•  Terror Warning Responses Range From Fear to Fatalism
•  Behind Roses' Beauty, Poor and Ill Workers
•  A nation on alert: antiaircraft missile launcher in Washington
•  Duct tape dwindling supplies in a store
•  Shoppers buying duct tape
•  Police in the subway
•  Rose Worker in Ecuador

Feb 14. 2003
•  Iraq Crisis Bares Deep Rift for Old Allies - Angry Allies
•  Allies to Ask U.N. to Say that Iraq Has Not Disarmed - Move by U.S. and Britain
•  Survey Shows Majority Backs Delaying a War
•  Investigators Say Hole in Aluminum Wrecked Shuttle
•  U.S. Increased Alert on Evidence Qaeda Was Planning 2 Attacks
•  Bush at a Navy base in Florida
•  Matisse and Picasso at MOMA

Feb 15, 2003
•  Powell Calls for U.N. to Act on Iraq and Meets Deep Resistance - Clash Comes as Inspectors Tell of Progress
•  If, and When: War's Timing
•  Moving Past Scripts, Envoys Bring Emotion to Iraq Debate
•  A 20-year Sentence for Killing Husband
•  NASA Official Says he Held Out Hope in Final Moments - Gradual Sense Of Doom
•  Terror Advice From Washington: Do Not Seal Doors and Windows
•  ElBaradei, Blix, an 'angry' Villepin and an 'advocating' Powell at the UN
•  America's Cup Race in New Zealand

Sunday, Feb. 16, 2003
•  U.S. To Seek Tests To Show That Iraq Resists Disarming - Bid to Sway the Skeptics
•  Balancing Act For Washington In Terror Alerts
•  Iraq Strategy Seen as Delay and Urban Battle
•  From New York to Melbourne Cries for Peace
•  In Shuttle Disaster, Families Lost More Than Mere Heroes
•  Pioneer of a Beat is Still Riffing for His Due
•  Mental Health Care Carries a Cruel Price
•  Antiwar demos in London, Prague and New York
•  Rock's performer Bo Diddley
In the section 'Week in Review':
•  The Smart Way to Be Scared
•  Looking at the Enemy as a Liberator
•  Why it's so difficult to detect and decipher the chatter of terrorists
•  Under John Ashcroft, judicial power flows to Washington
•  Putin's challenge: which West will he join?

Feb. 17, 2003
•  U.S. Planning Sanctions Against North Korea
•  NATO Settles Rift Over Aid to Turks in Case of a War
•  A New Power in The Streets - A Message to Bush Not to Rush to War
•  Snow Piles Up As Storm Rolls Across the East
•  A Qaeda Informant Helps Investigators Trace Group's Trail
•  After Liftoff, Uncertainty and Guesswork
•  Wage Gap Between Men and Women Closes to Narrowest
•  Snow in front of the White House
•  Flight director in command room when Columbia broke up
•  Tiger Woods

Feb 18, 2003
•  War Planners Begin to Speak Of War's Risks
•  Europe Union Says Iraq Must Disarm Quickly And Fully - But Force is 'Last Resort'
•  Blizzard Buries Northeastern U.S., Disrupting Travel
•  More Than Enough to Shut Down the Capital
•  21 Die in Stampede of 1,500 at Chicago Nightclub
•  Snow pile on Fifth Ave. in Manhattan
•  Grieving family members of Chicago fire

Feb. 19, 2003
•  Antiwar Protests Fail To Sway Bush On Plans For Iraq - Security is Called Goal
•  Chirac Scolding Angers Nations That Back U.S. - 'New' Europeans Bristles at Call for Quiet on Iraq
•  Debris From Shuttle May Not Tell Enough
•  Round of Sparring in Chicago After Fatal Stampede at Club
•  Donor Mix-Up leaves Girl, 17, Fighting for Life
•  Where Talk of War Includes 'mom' or 'Dad'
•  Americans Abroad Cope With Anger at U.S.
•  Central Park under snow
•  Korean Arson attack

Feb. 20, 2003
•  Reshaping Message on Terror, Ridge Urges Calm With Caution - Campaign Focuses on keeping Public Informed
•  U.S. Is pessimistic Turks Will Accept Aid Deal On Iraq - White House Frustrated
•  9/11 Accomplice Guilty in Germany
•  Shuttle Inquiry Is Again Focusing On Damage From Debris at Liftoff
•  African Town's Pride and Joy Vanished When Ferry Sank
•  Despite of Danger Warnings, Ephedra Sells
•  Air Force Starts Investigation of Ex-Cadets' Rape Charges
•  Tom Ridge
•  Yankee Stadium

Feb. 21, 2003
•  U.S. Combat Force Of 1,700 Is Headed to The Philippines - New Antiterrorist Front
•  Armed With Weapons And a Will, Palestinian Factions Plot Revenge
•  Indictment Ties U.S. Professor To Terror Group
•  U.S. Seeks 9 Votes From U.N. Council To Confront Iraq - Challenge to War Foes
•  New Role For NATO Seen in Afghanistan
•  NASA Had Planned Changes on Shuttle Foam
•  Local Phone Rules to Stay in Place
•  Girl in Donor Mix-Up Undergoes 2nd Transplant
•  A masked Palestinian fighter with gun
•  Debris from the Shuttle Columbia

Feb. 22, 2003
•  Inspectors Orders Iraq to Dismantle Disputed Missiles
•  95 Dead in Fire Ignited by Band at Rhode Island Club
•  An Emptiness Made Crueler By Closeness
•  Instant Inferno Also Leaves 187 Injured
•  3 Pieces of Debris Hit Shuttle Wing
•  Papers Indicate That Bayer Knew of Dangers of Its Cholesterol Drug
•  Exiled American Outlives Stalin's Shadow
•  Rhode Island club on fire
•  Fuel barge explosion in Staten Island

Sunday, Feb. 23, 2003
•  Prohibited Missile Is 'Tip Of Iceberg' In Iraq, Bush Says - Cites Hussein's Defiance
•  Inspectors View Nuclear Work At Iranian Site
•  With Iraq Stance, Chirac Strives for Relevance
•  In Club Fire, Finger-Pointing And Task of Naming the Dead
•  On Environmental Rules, Bush Sees a Balance, Critics a Threat
•  Teenage Girl Is Dead; Had Two Transplants
•  Sweet Tunes, Fast Beats and a Hard Edge
•  Mourners leaving flowers near the Club
•  Bush and Spanish PM
•  Chuck Berry
Also, In 'Week in Review':
•  Battle Plan: Spare Iraq's Civilians
•  Europe's High and Lows Depend on Where You Stand
•  Welfare war
•  How protesters used technology to mobilize so nimbly

Feb. 24, 2003
•  Iraq Seeks Talks To Save Its Stock Of Barred Missiles
•  Firing Leaflets and Electrons, U.S. Wages Information War
•  Prosecutors See Limits to Doubt In Capital Cases
•  Bush Proposes Major Changes In Health Plans
•  Large Trial Finds AIDS Vaccine Fails to Stop Infection - Ethnic disparities noted
•  Burned Victims of Club Fire Are Facing a Long Struggle
•  At Mardi Gras, A Catch and Fleeting Ecstasy
•  Paul Wolfowitz in Detroit with Iraqi-Americans
•  The Grammys

Feb. 25, 2003
•  U.S. And Allies Ask U.N. To Declare Iraq Won't Disarm - A Diplomatic Showdown
•  A Gamble for a Friend [Going back to the U.N. To help Blair]
•  U.S. Crackdown Sets Off Chaotic Exodus to Canada
•  Fears of Terror A Complication For Art Exhibits
•  Scrutiny Focuses on Club's Owners
•  Carnival in Rio Is Dancing to More Commercial Tune
•  Safe Therapy Is Found For High Blood-Clot Risk
•  Memorial for victims of Club fire
•  The king and queen of the Rio Carnival

Feb. 26, 2003
•  U.S. Lists Iraqis to Punish, or to Work With
•  Turkey Seems Set To Let 60,000 G.I.'s Use Bases For War
•  Bush Goes Global To Lobby For Votes On U.N. Measure
•  Sound Manager at Nightclub Says He Warned About Fires
•  Transplant Mix-Up Colors Debate on Malpractice
•  Justices Stress Inmate's Right To Press Appeal
•  Panel Of Experts Faults Bush Plan To Study Climate
•  Mass Corruption trial in Vietnam
•  Navy ship entering a Turkish port

Feb. 27, 2003
•  Bush Says Ousting Hussein Could Aid Peace In Mideast
•  North Koreans Restart Reactor, U.S. Concludes
•  Top Air Force General Backs Broader Inquiry on Assaults
•  Shuttle Engineers Debated Chances Of Grave Damage
•  Oil Prices Soar
•  Analyst Coached WorldCom Chief on His Script
•  Met Gets Gift of 100 Works Collected by Son of Matisse
•  Kurdish students burn Turkish flags
•  Matisse's 'Chapel of St. Anne'
•  Orchids at the New York Botanical Garden

Feb. 28, 2003
•  Pentagon Contradicts General On Iraq Occupation Force's Size
•  'In Principle,' Iraq Agrees To Destroy Forbidden Missiles
•  Hearing War Drums, Iraqis Still March to Their Own Beat
•  NASA Pressed on When Officials Learned of E-mail About Shuttle
•  Practical Issues For Ground Zero
•  Terrorism Alert Level Is Lowered a Notch
•  Mister Rogers, TV's Friend For Children, Is Dead at 74
•  Young Brides Stir New Outcry on Utah Polygamy
•  Daniel Libeskind who won the contest for the new trade center
•  Fred Rogers in 1989
•  American Soldiers in War Games on the Korean Peninsula

March 1, 2003
•  U.S. Says Hussein Must Cede Power To Head Off War - Disarming Not Enough - Divisions in the U.N. Harden as Russia Threatens a Veto on New Iraq Resolution
•  Adding Exile To Iraq Mix - Bush Sets Bar Higher For Hussein and U.N.
•  U.S. Sees Quick Start of North Korea Nuclear Site - Officials in Intelligence Now Say Situation Is at 'Crisis' Level
•  U.S. Arrivals Face Radiation Check - All Entering Will Be screened - Fear Over 'Dirty Bomb'
•  Government Moves To Curtail the Use Of Diet Supplement
•  Full Appeals Court Lets Stand the Ban on 'God' in Pledge
•  For Lott, Uneasy Role as One of 100 in Senate
•  Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division heading to the Persian Gulf
•  Last minute of the Shuttle Columbia crew


Phew! What a long list, sorry about that; but this was a month long of 'news' headlines, not from any newspaper, not from a tabloid or local rag. These are the headlines of a respected major U.S. newspaper with much gravitas, influence and international repute. This is The New York Times, whose motto is, "All the News That's Fit to Print;" a powerful voice of American liberalism...

Should we label February 2003 the March-to-War month? Or would it be the catastrophic month? For, indubitably, ¾ of the headlines are about Iraq, war, terror, and catastrophes (the Columbia shuttle, fires, explosions, storms...). With the exception of February 2 that is entirely dedicated to the shuttle accident, the paper reports at length on Iraq and/or terror, often lumping them together, every day. Then you have the rift among the 'allies' and a fair coverage in text and pictures of the great leader, the compassionate leader, the frustrated leader, the determined leader... The majority of the pictures depicts some kind of violence, disaster and tragedy. Finally, one feel-good story (music, painting) or picture ('an apple a day keeps the doctor away').

As this kind of news 'treatment' (manipulation?) is repeated all over the main media no one should be particularly surprised by our collective psychosis. Neither should anyone be surprised by the fact that the U.S. is by far the largest consumer per capita of Prozac, Valium and other psychotropic drugs.

The Bushites have it made. Reaction wins!

· · · · · ·



The 1991 Gulf War Rationale - A Swans Dossier

Understanding the U.S.-Iraq Crisis, a Primer by Phyllis Bennis

Iraq on Swans


Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.

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· · · · · ·

This Week's Internal Links

The Political Economy Of Oil And The War Against Terrorism - by Haider A. Khan

Being There - by Anthony Judge

Remarks to the Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement - by Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz

Adam Smith Is Still On Our Side - by Milo Clark

Free-Style - by Michael Stowell

Making the World Safe for Oilgarchy - by Philip Greenspan

The Palette Of Fear - by Jan Baughman

Iraq's Economic Problems - Book Review by Tanweer Akram

Excerpt from Victims of Groupthink - by Irving L. Janis

War Sonata II - Poem by Kahnupad Haider

Letters to the Editor


Published March 3, 2003
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