Marjorie Cohn, editor of The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse, blogs in response to the Rally to Restore Sanity about the need to stay informed in order to stay sane.
In their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert effectively demonstrated how the media hypes fear. They brought out Kareem Abdul Jabbar to show that not all Muslims are terrorists. A couple of musical numbers dealt with the wars we are fighting. But neither Stewart nor Colbert mentioned Iraq or Afghanistan and how they are allowed to continue by the hyping of fear.
Like his predecessor, President Obama also hypes fear – by connecting his war in Afghanistan to keeping us safe, even though CIA director Leon Panetta recently admitted that only 50 to 100 al Qaeda fighters are there. Hoping to put the unpopular Iraq war behind him, Obama declared combat operations over, although 50,000 U.S. troops and some 100,000 mercenaries remain.
Tragically, both wars have largely disappeared from the national discourse.