The Post 9/11 Hangover: Domestic Terrorism
After 9/11 there were a lot of people expecting more Al Qaeda attacks on a daily basis; Americans, wildly encouraged by their government, literally lived in fear. And they gave the government a blank check to do whatever it took to prevent further terror attacks in the USA. And the government did just that, in spades, hundreds of billions of dollars was spent on “Homeland Security.” Whole industries were created, the Constitution was trampled, foreign nations invaded, and to this day the “War on Terror” is used to justify endless “defence” spending and whatever acts the government deems necessary, up to and including the summary execution of American’s on the president’s order.
Ten years after 9/11 is it OK to ask how successful this has all been? Yes, yes it is. Well, according to Hollywood, every single week dastardly terrorist plots have been prevented by our staunch defenders. Heck, just on NCIS alone, dozens of horrible plots have been foiled, saving thousands if not tens of thousands of innocent American lives. And that’s just one TV show, add them all up and I’m sure every American’s life has been saved many times over. Practically brings tears to my eyes.
Unfortunately, back in the real world, the situation is a little different. How different? The facts speak for themselves. Since 9/11 the greatest anti-terrorist operation in history has identified 82 cases of domestic terrorism in the USA. Of course 49 of these were cases of Americans providing material support to foreign terrorist groups. How many were actual plots against the USA by domestic terrorists? 32. OK, so 32 terrorist plots stopped, that’s something, right? No, only ten of these got beyond the talking stage and had made actual starts at putting a plot into motion.
Woohoo! One 9/11 per year stopped, that’s worth it right? Ignoring the fact that 9/11 was the most spectacularly successful terrorist attack in history, we still have problems. Six of the ten “plots” we foiled, were FBI sting operations. As I’ve said before, trolling chat rooms and looking for unstable losers, then recruiting them into “terrorist plots,” is preventing your own terrorist plot. So four acts of terror planned or carried out. One of them, the Times Square plot, was foiled by the man in the street, not Homeland Security. Two plots were actually carried out, the Fort Hood shooting and the Carlos Bledsoe Army recruiting center shooting. One case, the Najibulla Zazi subway bombing case, does seem to have been foiled.
OK, let me see if I have this straight. For the past ten years Al Qaeda has been waging war on the USA, trying to attack the USA and exhorting America’s millions of Muslims to engage in terrorist acts. In that ten years they have only managed to inspire or pull off four attacks, two of which were thwarted. Um, can someone explain to me how Al Qaeda is an existential threat to the US? They aren’t of course, and never were. As I said within days of 9/11, the War on Terror is going to make the War on Drugs look cheap and effective in comparison.
The facts speak for themselves. (And don’t even try to tell me that our wars overseas prevented them from attacking us here, that doesn’t pass the laugh test.) In our reaction to 9/11 we’ve spent over a trillion dollars, tens of thousands of American soldiers have been killed and maimed, our civil rights have been severely compromised, two countries have been turned into failed states, and we are in wars in half a dozen others. All of this in response to a tiny criminal organization that pulled off one lucky attack. If “The War on Terror” isn’t the most hysterical over-reaction in history, I don’t know what is.
And worst of all, this state of endless pointless war has been normalized for lack of a better word. That’s a topic for another day’s post though.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s Jack Bauer of the FBI, possibly Hollywood’s greatest success at persuading Americans that terrorists everywhere are out to get us. I suppose I should write a post someday about why it’s so hard for foreign terrorists to attack the USA, again though, another day. Oh, and I got my figures from this article.)