"A Nation of Such Panic": From Ebola to ISIS, Right's Pundits Fomenting Reckless Fear

On the front page of the morning Los Angeles Times was this headline: White House grapples with limits of air campaign against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Seems we need more assistance than we’re getting in order to stop ISIS in its tracks. With hawks again in ascension, this comes as no surprise.

Then: the latest breaking news on Ebola. Death and destruction is looming, lurking everywhere.

Between those scary accounts and GOP Representative (and aluminum foil hat-wearer) Duncan Hunter’s lies about, get this, TEN ISIS FIGHTERS having crossed the Mexican border, it dawned on the GOP to blame President Obama for his lack of feck and obvious scheming to fulfill his dreams of becoming the most powerful dictator.

The president is so weak, per Republicans, that he’ll somehow manage to use the Ebola virus and ISIS to assume the role of King of the Whole Wide World. No easy feat.

Alarmist O’ the Day Rep. Hunter inexplicably believes Islamic State is slithering into our country with the same ease that the Ebola virus magically lingers in the air endlessly (by the way, it doesn’t.), so we’re all gonna inhale it and die as we get beheaded by the ten ISIS infiltrators, who are apparently immune to the virus.

Here’s Rachel Maddow debunking the ISIS lies:

This question came to mind: Why all the hysteria? Lately, the panic of the misinformed/uninformed is more intense than ever. 

Luckily, not everyone is buying the hooey. Here are today’s L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan suggest that the right way to fight Islamic State is to send in ground forces. When will we learn the lessons of other failed ground wars, including Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan? (“U.S. strategy against Islamic State is too much air, not enough boots,” Op-Ed, Oct. 6)

The Viet Cong, Taliban and Saddam Hussein’s forces were each thousands of miles from our shores and did not represent existential threats. There were no reliable partners on the ground.

Progress, which could only be measured over years, required a gradual escalation of forces. The more violence we threw at an enemy embedded in the local population, the more civilians we killed, and the resulting anger helped the enemy.

In Iraq and Syria, let’s not make matters worse by throwing kerosene onto a raging fire.

Joel Rudnick, Mar Vista


As a Vietnam veteran and retired Marine, I’m truly perplexed by the call from non-combatants to send in ground troops.

I’m also surprised that no one has pointed out the fact that Islamic State is not a standing army — it is more like a very dangerous street gang gone wild. Even if it numbers 30,000 or more fighters, would it be able to stand against the 2nd Marine Division? Against a U.S. Army tank battalion with the awesome Abrams tank?

Not at all. Islamic State fighters would just melt in with the local populace, and we would be mired in a senseless and never-ending police action — again.

Why is the brain trust so eager to send our men and women off to right a wrong that we cannot right? This is a fight we cannot win, so let the locals fight it out or succumb to their fate. Let the Kurds, the Iraqis, the Syrians fight for their country, their families, their freedom.

When did we become a nation of such panic?

Stephen Baldwin, Irvine

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