Chris Christie took a trip to New Hampshire this week, where he explained it would be a horrendous mistake for Congress to impose new restrictions on the National Security Agency. What he said may sound to you like standard, boring politican-speak, but read it anyway:
We lost a friend of ours in our parish [on September 11, 2001]. My oldest son’s kindergarten teacher lost her brother, who was a New York City firefighter. And my son Andrew’s best friend lost his father that morning in the trade center. …
I’m the only person who will come before you and talk to you who has actually used those tools as a prosecutor, used the Patriot Act, used Section 215, had to review those applications and approve them, and brought two major terrorist cases while I was U.S. attorney. Both resulting in convictions, one of them against six radical Islamic terrorists who were planning to attack Fort Dix and our soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. We got the intelligence, we interceded and prevented the attack, and now those six folks are serving their time in federal prison because we did. …
The thing that’s demoralizing to me is that I really think there are so many sectors in our country who … have forgotten what 9/11 felt like. …
What did it feel like to us? …
You know, you can’t enjoy your civil liberties if you’re in a coffin.
There’s nothing special about that, you’ve heard it a million times before.
But now take a look at this 2002 description of Al Manar, the Lebanese satellite station run by Hezbollah, quoting its news director Hassan Fadlallah. (Hezbollah literally means “Party of God” and has been called the “A-Team of Terrorists” by former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage.)
Al Manar is “trying to keep the people in the mood of suffering,” [said Fadallah]. … “In Spite of the Wounds” portrays as heroes men who were wounded fighting Israel in South Lebanon. … Al Manar also has a weekly program called “Terrorists.” … The show “Terrorists,” he told me, airs vintage footage of what it terms “Zionist crimes.” …
So note these similarities:
• Most importantly, Christie and Hezbollah are worried their potential followers may stop focusing on traumatic events of the past. In other words, it’s a bad thing if people no longer feel intense sorrow and fear.
• Specifically, Christie and Hezbollah want us to be scared of religion-based terrorism.
• Both want to associate themselves with heroes who are protecting us from the scary, religion-based terrorism.
When it’s Hezbollah, we can perceive its clumsy, transparent manipulation of listeners’ emotions. We can also see it in Tehran’s huge propaganda murals, the “Walls of Martyrdom,” which constantly remind Iranians of soldiers killed in the “Imposed War” with Iraq in the 1980s and imply the dead heroes loved Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khamenei. And in Slobodan Milosevic’s 1989 St. Vitus Day speech, in which he used the 600th anniversary of Serbian defeat at the Battle of Kosovo to demand that Serbs remember how “this unjustly suffering country” had “defended the European culture, religion, and European society” from cruel enemies with a different religion.
When the clumsy, transparent manipulation is being done by our own politicians, though, it can be harder to see. But if you don’t think Lebanese Shiites should trust the leaders of Hezbollah, or Iranians should trust their ayatollahs, you shouldn’t trust Chris Christie. Or these guys:
(This post is from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)
Photo: Darren McCollester / Getty