Every time I seem to go on a long trip — this time to Muscat, Oman for a foreign policy conference — I get stuck in airports and surf the net looking for front organizations that neoconservatives and their fellow-traveling Jesse Helmsian pugnacious nationalists have set up.
I’ve just found one that gives me over-the-top creeps.
Visit — a site seemingly devoted to convincing a large cross-section of Americans that they must fear terrorism — really fear it, now — tomorrow — and in the many years to come. It’s high-fear exploitation of the worst kind candy-coated with slick pictures of mostly white women and their children (though I just found a graphic with an attractive Asian family on the site as well) in front of sparkly white picket fenced homes.
I understand that terrorism is serious, and I think America should deploy a multi-pronged strategy to curb terrorism, protect America and its citizens, and take serious steps to connect with the “audience” — the global silent majority — that terrorists are attempting to appeal to by exploiting various grievances held by people around the world. Shutting down terrorists doesn’t only require a military response — but it requires sophisticated and hard-headed diplomacy and outreach to steal from terrorists the applause they are dying for. This site, however, is designed to scare middle class, white, suburban America into accepting the high costs of a national security state.

FSM’s Board of Directors is packed with folks that populate dozens of other similar 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 non-profit and political activist organizations devoted to rigid and shrill national security prescriptions that if left unchecked would probably result in a cascading set of serious wars. Included on the board of “Family Security Matters” is television personality and research assistant in Richard Nixon’s last moments Monica Crowley, James DeGraffenreid who chairs Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, right wing media maven Laura Ingraham, the almost-but-not-quite Homeland Security Czar Bernard Kerik, Fox News military analyst Paul Vallely, China hawks of hawks Roger Robinson and Arthur Waldron, and of course — my favorite war-profiteer who on 9/11/2001 was the highest profile American to allege the probable involvement of Saddam Hussein in the terror attacks while not at the same time mentioning that he was Ahmed Chalabi’s lawyer and had obvious conflicts of interest — R. James Woolsey.
I know some of the other people on the board — particularly Joan Woodard of Sandia National Laboratories who has a steady hand and sober mind about these matters — and I find her presence on a board where the deck is so obviously stacked highly unlike her and Sandia. I hope after she reads this that she considers resigning.
Here is the text from the section of site for children — “It’s for Kids too — especially kids!” This really reads like something out of a Cold War era duck-under-your-school desk-when-the-nuclear-bomb-hits manual:

The danger from a terrorist attack is never more clear than when we look into the faces of our children. The 9/11 attacks showed all Americans exactly how much we can lose unless terrorism is prevented. Just as parents in the 1950’s found themselves forced to discuss the potential of nuclear war with their children, Americans must now find a way to explain to their families why people a world away want to cause such harm.
We must not frighten our children unnecessarily, but we cannot allow them to live in safe oblivion indefinitely. As long as the danger of terrorist attacks on American communities lingers, our children must know how to respond in an emergency.
As they get older, it is our responsibility to insure their education and civic awareness, in order to reduce the shock of an attack and to help foster a stronger nation. Eventually, they will be called upon to continue the struggle to defend American individuals and ideals in the face of foreign aggressors. By instilling a sense of civic responsibility and political awareness at an early age, they may help protect tomorrow what we have preserved today.
It is no longer possible to control the information that reaches our children’s eyes and ears. The same technology that helps them learn more subjects in less time than ever before also exposes them to frightening and unsettling images and ideas. It is essential that parents prepare themselves to discuss terrorism and extremism with their children in a factual, honest, and sensitive manner, to encourage awareness and participation without causing alarm or fostering hate.
To aid in this preparation, FSM has created this special “National Security is for Kids, Too” section for parents and educators. We have sources to help parents explain terrorism to their children in simple and appropriate terms. But we want FSM to be a resource to children as well and will always include educational and interactive features to help children learn about national security while understanding how they can make a difference in defending America. By educating our children about national security, we can prepare them for another unthinkable attack and cultivate a sense of civic responsibility that can last a lifetime.

And read this section designed to make those who don’t live in concentrated urban centers where a terrorism attack might be more likely feel the same sizzling fear that DC and New York City residents might feel:

As illustrated on 9/11, large cities have a certain appeal for terrorists. Places such as New York, Washington, Los Angeles, or Houston have large populations and symbolic buildings that increase the death toll and emotional impact of an attack. Additionally, if an attack by nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon rendered a large city uninhabitable, millions of refugees would need shelter, food and jobs in other areas of the country, perhaps for many years.
Other types of weapons, such as cyberterrorism or EMP attack, could eliminate the electricity, food, gas, and water supplies to massive portions of our nation. The economic toll of such displacement, job loss, infrastructure damage, and confidence erosion would be catastrophic.
There are other reasons why the rest of the United States cannot be complacent. Some locations are so sensitive that they are appealing targets for terrorists, no matter where they are placed. These include, among many other things, food production facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and chemical plants. Other forms of terrorism, such as cyberterrorism or the use of a biological weapon, could spread damage and devastation over extremely large areas, quickly moving beyond the confines of a city.
Even if terrorists attack only a specific urban target, such as on 9/11, the repercussions could spread much farther. The immediate loss of public confidence could severely undermine America’s economy. Transportation, communication, and public health capabilities could be disrupted. In the event of a devastating attack, the American public could be so frightened as to demand government action on a scale that would drastically alter the traditional liberties and freedoms of every citizen in the United States.
The cumulative effect of these responses to a geographically limited terrorist attack could cause lasting changes in American society that may greatly diminish our national power and prestige and ultimately erode our entire system of laws and government.

This reminds me of my colleague Gregory Rodriguez who once wrote that after 9/11, people in Los Angeles had “rediscovered the beauty of low-density sprawl.” Rodriguez is right, and the “Family Security Matters” crowd is wrong and seems mostly intent on creating the political foundation for a national security state. They want folks who live in Missoula, Montana; Bartlesville, Oklahoma; Salina, Kansas; and Dubuque, Iowa to really worry that terrorists might be there to mess up their lives — any time, any moment.
This is disturbing manipulation, but it is also a manifestation of the seriousness and real brilliance of this movement. Progressives and moderates have nothing like the proliferating shell institutions of 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 organizations that neocons and islationist nationalists have in droves.
We need to read through these sites, understand the relationships between this organization and its allies — and learn from them.
— Steve Clemons
Ed Note: I am flying to Muscat, Oman and will be there until Wednesday night when I will fly back to Washington. TWN readers in Oman, feel free to email me at



  1. notway says:

    WTF does the Flag Burning Amendment have to do with terrorism prevention and why does the site have a Ben Shapiro column supporting it prominently displayed, describing flag burners as “animals?”


  2. Mr Binks says:

    Pissed Off American:
    Wow, Dick Cheney himself must have abused you as a child!
    Lets see, you seem to be somewhat upset about Martians, someone torturing and napalming children, and gay women sleeping on some crappy sitcom. HHHmmm. Did someone not take his medication today???
    I don’t know if it’s your microwave or maybe blender thats putting these scary things in your head, but you MUST RESIST! You mentioned Jesus, that’s probably who I would call upon to help, if I were you.
    PS: Shouldn’t your name have a hyphen between “Pissed” and “off?” Just wondering.


  3. Aunt Deb says:

    Perhaps we should ask the SWIFT money-tracing folks to check up on the funding for these groups.


  4. Pissed Off American says:

    Hey “PissedOffAmerican,” we all know about the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and the sinister plans of the GOP to enslave us all at some huge Halliburton facility.
    The big question is, what about the fact space aliens have taken control of your major applicances? Now there’s something to be concerned about. Listen, your dishwasher just sent you a message….
    Posted by Mr_Binks
    Yeah, it must be Martians. After all, NO AMERICAN would ever condone torture, or napalm women and children, right, Binkie??
    Hey, while we’re talking conspiracies, Redneck, how do you feel about gay sluts doing sleep-overs in the West Wing???
    All in Jesus’ name, eh Binkie?


  5. Mr_Binks says:

    Hey “PissedOffAmerican,” we all know about the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and the sinister plans of the GOP to enslave us all at some huge Halliburton facility.
    The big question is, what about the fact space aliens have taken control of your major applicances? Now there’s something to be concerned about. Listen, your dishwasher just sent you a message….


  6. asdf says:

    Dude, that stuff is peanuts compared to the propaganda Europeans were subjected to. I mean seriously, watch these ads ( ). I am of the generation who has to work very hard not to automatically ignore advertising, but this stuff is sickening!
    Watch them and tell me you are not pissed of at the Idea that this fear mongering, so blunt it makes feel sad for the advertising people behind it, might have gotten tax dollars…
    This stuff was poured out over the newspapers and on some TV stations of US allies.
    Really, watch the ads! They were supposedly paid for by a charity organization with a few influential rich donors who wanted to remain anonymous… And no European newspaper could defiantly link this group to anything.( )
    And you wouldn’t believe the racism thats in the leaflets dropped in Pakistan ( ), or the sick things psyops units do to the bodies of dead afghan fighters to lure out their allies…. on video! ( ) And parading Saddam in his underwear, way to go! The racisms in propaganda is a tactic proudly emphasized in the powerpoint slides of the presentations these psyops people give. ( )
    For the US audience its just Jessica lynch and her standard issue flag and standard issue make-up when she is “rescued” If only all war looked that good…
    ( )
    (,2763,956255,00.html )
    Would she have been rescued at all, if she wasn’t blond and tall?
    The point is, the rest of the world has to deal with far worse US propaganda. And, as a bonus, gets to see far more of the horrific pictures out of Iraq than Americans will ever see…
    Although I have to admit that the stuff made up by all those “exiles” hanging out with the neocons and the PR agencies that swift boat entire governments is a little worse in the US press than in the European press… ( )
    I guess one should keep an eye out for stories from the US offices of the Beslan hostage takers (school, theater,2 planes, subway stations, huge gunfights with police and the mujaheddin e khalq (Saddam was a fan, so are the neocons They are close to the neocons and Russia and Iran have oil. And there are less pre-election terror alerts in Europe as well.
    And the frightening thing is that only a few newspapers have learned to be skeptical when it comes to US government sources claims on things such as north Korean missiles. (Has the US military ever misunderestimated ICBM`s?, it didn’t with the soviet ones and still is pumping up the Chinese “nuclear treat” which must be why pretending the missile defense system actually works is easy for these people 😉 )
    I guess on the bright side propaganda has brought us “absolute power” which to me is the new “yes minister” 😉 (
    get your copy here )


  7. Marcia says:

    When danger si real, perhaps imminent, waiting is no longer a solution.The cabal of these right-wing fascists does not have to be a majority. Take-overs are rarely the work of majorities. They are a minority, but a powerful minority, controlling all three branches of government, the press and TV. The political power-mad groups, the corporate valets, use the religious fanatics to gain ever more power.
    I think there is a word that suits them, wicked, bent on their evil deeds, even though that sound like a bad fairy tale
    Ours is now a failed democracy and if it is not put back on track urgently it may become extinct.
    There is much talk about Germany but there was also Spain. Picasso’s “Guernica” was never more modern.


  8. Robert Morrow says:

    I call your National Security for Kids and raise you with a Peace Moonbeam Chronicles


  9. John Wilson says:

    I just discovered right click, open in new wondow
    does the trick. (If you are reading this you already know this…..
    ..never mind. 🙂


  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The rationale for the policies of this Administration can be summed up in one word……
    And Steve hit the nail on the head. These slimey sons of bitches are organized, motivated, and are following a definite plan. Hillary once talked of a “vast right wing conspiracy”, and I fear her comment was extremely accurate in describing an on-going conspiracy. But it is far more evil than “right wing”, and is being executed by people with GLOBAL aspirations that, (I believe), will make Hitler’s brief stint in the limelight of modern history seem tame in comparison. Who reading this can deny that the strategies and tactics of this Administration closely mirror the tactics and strategies that allowed Hitler to ascend to power, supported by an entire nation???
    Mark my words, these bastards have another “trifecta” in the offing, and they WILL use it, no matter how many of us they need to MURDER to get us back on the Fear Train.


  11. btree says:

    Another thought: “FamilySecurityMatters” is a perfect, condensed representation of the ongoing Israelification of America: this is pure Zionist Settlement psychology (some kind of “super race” that needs to prepare to die for its “destiny”) complete with “separation fences” (i.e walls against the foreign hordes) and permanent Arab occupation “a world away”.


  12. btree says:

    Just about as creepy as every single time Perle starts waxing lyrical about the “young, idealistic (male) dissidents” of the next regime-change-worthy Middle Eastern country.
    Thinking about the slo-mo fascist take-over…
    Walt and Mearsheimer decide to ‘tool up’ an academic paper and inject it into ‘elite discussion’ via the London Review.
    They succeed beyond all reasonable expectation. The paper ricochets around the globe. After the hate speech from the usual corners dies down (and W&M wisely *abstain* from having their faces on cable tv), a fairly substantive and fruitful discussion of the issues (!) takes place. Foreign Policy Magazine organizes a symposium around the paper’s thesis.
    In other words, Walt and Mearsheimer are *framing the debate*.
    And that’s just for starters. There are ripple-effects. Chances are AIPAC will actually FAIL (gasp) to get Joe Lieberman re-elected this time round.
    Better still, the London Review version of _one_ academic paper almost succeeds at cutting off the likes of Perle, Luti and Maloof at the knees.
    Or am I reading a little too much into the defeatist tone of Perle’s latest?
    Could it be that Perle agrees with Shmuel Rosner about “the anti-AIPAC lobby” winning this round?
    (link to Rosner’s Ha’aretz column)
    What I want to know is this:
    Two pol-sci professors can frame a public debate in the United States.
    What is the f****g problem with the Democrats?


  13. vaughan says:

    Excellent take on this NSM site. Fear is the tool, and votes are what they’re after.
    [Regarding the comments–seems to work for me if use the right-click, open in new window command.]


  14. Loyal Reader says:

    Your comment feature is not working properly. Might be time to upgrade your blog system considering the recent technical problems. Price of popularity.


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