By Arlen Grossman/ The Big Picture Report
The specter of terrorism has been used to frighten Americans for many years, and exponentially since the attacks on September 11, 2001. But is the “War on Terror” for real, or is it a monumental hoax and scam? The evidence tells the story.
Remember the bomb that went off in the Mall of America in 2003 that killed hundreds of shoppers? Or the nerve gas that killed dozens of baseball fans at Wrigley Field in 2010? Or the nuclear device that killed thousands and shut down Disneyland last year?
I don’t remember those either–because they never happened. They would have been easy to pull off if there were well-organized terror groups that had infiltrated America. Airports are relatively secure, but what about the rest of the country? Common sense tells us there is no realistic way to prevent a strongly motivated terror group from targeting the many places Americans congregate in large numbers each and every day.
That is, if there were foreign terrorist groups inside this country. Apparently, there isn’t. The most likely scenario is that 9/11 was a well-planned, well-coordinated, one-time event orchestrated by Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaida shot its wad, Osama bin Laden went into hiding, and they had nothing else left. That would explain why we haven’t seen any well-organized acts of terror on American soil since 2001.
Instead, the American people have been conditioned to worry and be scared whenever the word “terrorism” is mentioned. So effective has been this fear tactic we have spent trillions, employed millions, militarized the “homeland,” surrendered our constitutional rights, and allowed many of our citizens to slide into economic despair and poverty as a result. Benjamin Franklin warned us: giving up our liberty to secure a little temporary safety, leaves us vulnerable to losing both.
Powerful and influential special interests have profited immensely from the “War on Terror” since 2001. Most Americans will remember the days after 9/11 and the speculation that radical Muslim “sleeper cells” were scattered across the country with plans to detonate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons at airports and everywhere else. America geared up to defend itself and hasn’t slowed down since, even though the perceived danger of a highly organized and sophisticated terrorist plan to destroy America has never materialized.
None of this is to deny the existence of terrorism and its potential danger. There has always been “terrorism” and always will be. Angry groups of people who lack armies, jet fighters, and other significant military advantages feel the need to rely on acts of “terror” to get the attention of their victims. The problem is that the War on Terror has been hugely exaggerated to play upon the fears of the American people and build a giant military/industrial/security complex from which significant, well-positioned special interests benefit and have a strong vested interest in perpetuating.
Fighting terrorism requires smart, efficient police work, but not an enormous, oppressive police state. We don’t need every person’s mail, phone calls, and emails tracked by the government, our license plates and movements monitored, our constitutional rights eviscerated, nor do we need to be probed and fondled just to ride on an airplane. We’ve overreacted to the terrorist threat and turned our country into an un-American police/ security state.
If the War on Terror is a hoax and a scam, who wants to keep it alive? The list of economic and political beneficiaries is vast. Let’s start with the military/industrial complex, and the $3.3 trillion the Pentagon has paid to defense contractors since 9/11, (according to George Washington University). Just last year, for example, Boeing received $23.5 billion and Lockheed Martin $22.8 billion in military contracts. The U.S. military is deployed in more than 150 nations, and is attacking more of them with drones than ever before (which begs the important question: are we discouraging or inspiring terrorists with our far-flung military adventures?).
The political beneficiaries of the war on terror are the administration in power and the tough-on-terror politicians that populate both major parties. By instilling fear in the population, the government (no matter which party is in charge) can more readily limit criticism and make end runs around constitutional protections. The George W. Bush Administration used the terrorist trauma to start two wars and shred important parts of our Constitution. The Obama Administration has been no better. The First Ten Amendments can now be rightfully called “The Bill of Limited Rights.” Right-wing politicians especially benefit, intimidating opponents and winning votes with hawkish rhetoric and scare tactics.
The news media, too, profits from the War on Terror, enjoying a spike in ratings whenever it covers stories of terror threats, real or imagined, as well as armed conflict around the world. The media can’t get enough of scary terrorist news.
And what about the private contractors and government agencies whose existence depends on a thriving War on Terror? Where once we had the CIA (foreign) and the FBI (domestic), there were, according to a 2010 Washington Post report, 17 intelligence agencies. The Post two-year investigation reported “some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States…An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.”
Let’s put all of this in perspective:. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) reports that, excluding the 9/11 atrocities, fewer than 500 people died in the U.S. from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2010. In comparison, over 30,000 Americans are killed by guns annually, and a similar number in automobile fatalities each year. In the last five years Americans were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist. Is the relatively small risk of terrorist attack worth decimating our treasury, as well as our long-standing values of personal liberty and privacy?
Some may say it is these efforts at combating terrorism that has kept us relatively safe since 2001. But of the estimated 50 terrorist plots foiled since 9/11, none have been of a large scale, nor originating from a well-organized plot from al-Qaida. In this country, acts of terror typically take the form of a “lone wolf” or two or three independent young men eager to avenge what they perceive to be American aggression in the Muslim world. Most foiled attempts originated from sting operations led by an agent provocateur—an FBI operative instigating terrorist action.
To some, It sounds far-fetched to think of the War on Terror as a hoax and a scam, but it would not be unprecedented. Just look back on our own history: “Remember the Maine!” (Spanish-American War), The Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnam), WMDs (Iraq). Each of these were false or questionable scenarios leading to unnecessary, illegal, and costly wars.
Clearly, a large number of powerful and influential special interests are heavily invested in the national defense and homeland security gravy train. We are assured “The War on Terror” will end when the threat of terror is eliminated–which, when you think about it, translates to “never.” Unless Americans take a hard, critical look at the reality of the War on Terror, the financial, political and emotional cost will overwhelm and destroy us, and a great deal of the rest of the world as well.
“War is a racket… easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious… It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives….It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”
Major General Smedley Butler, U.S. Marines, from his book War Is a Racket, (1935)
Also published in OpEdNews, August 16, 2013
Hi Arlen! Your writings and editings have done nothing but get better with every passing time I have had the opportunity to read them. I believe you are now in the league with all the best of them and the only reason you are not getting their salaries is simply that there are only so many musical chairs set up to that table and the ones who got there first are still in play. Great work! ed