The power of nightmares claims that the myth and fear created as part of the comprehensive plan or attempt to unite and inspire people after the failure or previous and utopian oriented ideologies can be interpolated as a threat to terrorism. In the same light, the creation of fear and compliant behavior in a victim through a purposeful act or threat of violence can be delimited as terrorism (Altheide 12). From the series, The Power of Nightmare, aspects of fear and terror are felt and created from the failure of the ideologies of the duo; Islamists and Non-conservatives. The Islamists fail to create a solid Islam state in Algeria and Egypt, due to force they perceive is from the western culture. Hence they use a lot of terror and coerce people from indulging in any action or rationale that could challenge their mission and beliefs. On the other hand, Non-conservatives; there is a decline in their attribution of using power and military force to combat evil, brought about by the rise of George W. Bush to power. In light with these two political bodies and their ideologies, it can be perceived that the fear of them losing power and not achieving their goals as to their expectations, create some threat to terrorism.
Thence, the threat to terrorism can be resolved to be a pure fabrication of fear from key political groups; the Islamists and the Non-conservatives. In relation to this, the mass media are the key source and agency used to soften up the audience and to prepare them to accept the justificatory account of any coming action.
Culture of Fear
Culture of fear refers to a term used by many politicians, scholars, journalists and writers under the assumption that a portion or some members of the society encourage anxiety among other members of the public. The sole purpose often is for the accomplishment of political goals. As Goerinng notes (Gilbert, 1947), the people did not want war except to be taken to bidding leaders. Again, they only needed to be told that they were under attack as well as a denouncing of the non-patriots amongst them for exposing the country to thrilling danger.
In the contemporary setting, the term is specifically used to characterize the fears associated with Islamic terrorism. It is argued that these fears are most of the time extremely exaggerated and have no logical basis in the first place. The expression has also been used to individuate illogical fear in different types of contexts including people getting frightened from other individuals that come from different ethnic backgrounds as well as neighborhoods. The fear ensues from the idea that these people may be looking for retribution in their community.
This is largely depicted in the film, when president bush declares war against Iraq in 2003, after the search for terrorists in sleeper cells, in America was unsuccessful. The Iraq people are perceived as evil which in the actual case is not the case.
In the 2004 BBC, documentary film series entitled The Power of Nightmares with a subtitle indicated as The Rise of the Politics of Fear, Adam Curtis provided several arguments. Particularly he points out that politicians have manipulated the fear that people feel in order to gain more control and influence within the society, which is evident in Tony Blair’s action of gaining moral authority by using terrorism threats. While Curtis did not include the term “culture of fear”, he in turn aptly described what the concept is all about in his series. He examined the American neoconservative movement along with its representation and manifestation as related to the Soviet Union before shifting his attention to the movement of the radical Islamists. In the same light, the movie clearly delineates the America’s idea to declare war against Iraq, who is generally interpolated as evil, due to the failure of the Neo-Conservatives in search of the terrorist network.
Curtis has been persistent in his argument that the fear felt from the September 11 attacks was just illusory, and that politicians like Tony Blair and George W. Bush had only been able to develop a new strategy in order to recover their influence and power. These politicians supposedly used fear in order to create a well developed web of evil in which they can project the image that they are protecting the people in whatever means or procedures they palliate. The film series from Curtis have also scrutinized the Bush administration, security forces and the media for working together in making sure that their influence in relation to the fear created would expand.
The documentary series highlighted Bill Durodié of the International Centre for Security Analysis also a Senior Research Fellow from King's College London. The expert noted that the fear of the network would be to a considerable extent be categorized as an invention. However, he also notes that fear and the threats that people perceive are probably nonexistent and have only been projection of people’s fear much like how other people create a fantasy under extreme emotions and impressions. Thence when people are less connected, they become less corrected, and alleged fears continue to hold. On the other hand, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor, contends that the use of War on Terror as a term was specifically intended to create a culture of fear because this intentionally meddles with reasons and emphasis more on emotions, which is particularly advantageous for politicians especially when directing people towards a specific political mobilization. Simply put, fear enhances the control people when trying to pursue policies they want. Similarly, war against terrorism camouflages on how democracy is being undermined through an anti-terrorist campaign that relentlessly attempts to depoliticize politics itself. The demonization of political Islam has now been extended to the demonization of politics itself. This evident as the all-encompassing theme in this movie, with Islamists constantly fighting for their plight under the authorship of a duo; Osama Bin Laden and Zawahiri.
Episode three of the movie series show George. W. Bush attacking Iraq in line with the Republican government ideals of combating terrorism an attack that to an immense extent fails to uproot the allegedly deeply rooted terrorism network prompting a scathing search of the terrorist in other country with the central focus directed to America.
From the arguments and debates that have been pointed out, it is evident that there’s an agenda behind the type of fear that has spread throughout different countries particularly in the United States. While nothing as extensive in scale as the September 11 has occurred, it is safe to anticipate that the threats have been enormously exaggerated. This can also be attributed to the way when different political policies have been advocated the moment such fear struck the public. While it is not safe, to assume that there’s a hidden agenda, it might be suffice to say that there’s a reason why such network suddenly emerged. The media only further emphasized the fear by relaying every bit of information from such politicians. Since news has had its sensationalized past, it cannot be ruled out that the threats and risks have also been exaggerated.
Chomsky, N.. “The Culture of Fear.” 2010.
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David L. Altheide. Creating fear: news and the construction of crisis. New York: Walter de
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Gustave, Gilbert. Nuremberg Diary. 1947.