Affordable Terrorism Act
Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it,
but in the end, there it is
It is reported this month that the cost of the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) is approaching $4 trillion. It is a number hard to conceptualize. Few federal programs are funded to this figure (over a 12-year span).
Moreover, we do not know what we are buying, or for or from whom. The expense is buried in secret budgets, state and local costs and the expenditures of the Departments of Defense and State. We cannot evaluate either the intent or capabilities of the terrorists, yet we throw mega dollars at the concept.
The benchmark of a viable project is that it defines the problem and the subject (population), and from this it formulates an approach. We have fallen short in the PWOT.
Pretend for a moment that the United States took no military action following the attacks of 9-11-01, as we did following the attacks in Beirut (1983) and Iran (1979). Let us say we realized that that war is not the correct response to a low-level terrorist attack.
Now fast-forward to 2015: Can we say with any certainty that the lavish expenditures of the PWOT minimized future attacks on the homeland?
It was Ranger’s position following the attacks that there would be no follow-on scenarios because the group lacked the capabilities to do so. The opposing camp says that it was the ensuing expensive military campaign which has thwarted any such potential events. In making a judgment, it is important to consider the quality of the piddling, pathetic efforts made by the sad sack terrorists manqué here at home, i.e., Jose Padilla, Richard Reid (the “shoe bomber”); Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the "underwear bomber"), the Ohio bridge bombers, et al.
We need an Affordable Terrorism Act (ATA). But to agree to such a thing, we would have to believe in ourselves and in an observable world order.
We would have to accept that:
- The Taliban were and are not a threat to our internal security
- The Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein was not a threat to the U.S.
- Islamic State is not a high-level threat. However, if they are we must acknowledge that their existence is due to our actions in their country of origin. We must accept that we have no Arab friends, and that calling any Arab nation an ally is a lie
- The threat facing Europe is not the same threat facing the U.S.
If we accepted these things, Ranger’s suggestions would include:
- Eliminate the NSA focus on collection of data from U.S. citizens. Have them focus instead upon foreign threats, per their charter.
- Put the Central Intelligence Agency back into the CIA business
- Put the Defense Intelligence Agency back into the DIA business
- Cease world-wide drone strikes. Focus on international and police and intelligence interplay.
- Reinstate the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the sole counter-intelligence terrorist agency in the continental U.S.
- Let the DoD concentrate on war-fighting, rather than police-oriented efforts
- Respect the sovereignty of all nations, to include Syria
We cannot afford an open-ended war of such extravagant spending when our social welfare system struggles to provide services to needy Americans. We can ill-afford this ongoing distraction.
When 40 million Americans got to bed hungry each night it seems superfluous to say terrorism is a threat to our way of life.
[cross-posted @ MilPub.]