War on Terror: Harder on Civilians

Fence dedicated to victims

Since that tragic day in September of 2011, Americans have lived, at first reasonably, in fear. Since the 9/11 attacks, we have made massive expenditures as a country to fight an expensive war on terrorism. When it started, the Bush administration told us to be patient, that we would beat this new threat and that we would have to make sacrifices as a people. Many civil liberties have been sacrificed, little headway has been gained. The “war on terror” has failed and we are still afraid.

Under president Bush, America invaded the Middle East under the pretense of putting a stop to terrorism and in doing so we have caused over a million deaths, few of whom were actual threats to domestic United States. In fact, recent worldwide BBC polls claim that the majority of Middle Eastern citizens view the overseas American influence as largely negative. The terrorists themselves are significantly less of a threat to American civilians than the American war effort has been to Middle Eastern residents. On American soil, less than 5 deaths a year are due to terrorism (a figure including 9/11). There are American past times that annually claim more lives than terrorism; football kills ten people each year.

The United States has allocated over three trillion dollars towards the fight against terrorism since the attacks of 9/11. The most conservative figures show an average spending of 400 million dollars per terrorism victim. To put this enormous figure into perspective, we spend roughly nine thousand per cancer victim and less than one hundred dollars for each heart disease and stroke victim. As a general rule, using cost/benefit analysis, safety regulations need to cost less than 8 million per victim to be adopted. Clearly this incredible figure doesn’t even approach sustainability.

So why does Obama’s administration, like Bush before him, spend so much on terrorism?

The answer, in short, is that you have to spend money to make money. Our government is funneling money into anti-terrorism law and the military effort that comes with it because it benefits the people who have invested in military and surveillance operations. Those invested people are powerfully connected to the American institution. Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, for example, earned 17.2 billion dollars in a three year period from the Iraq War alone. They were paid to construct military bases, oil field repairs and other military logistics. DynCorp and Washington Group International have also profited well over a billion dollars thanks to the American war on terror. These companies all lobby extensively and in at least one case – Halliburton – their CEO and chairman was the vice president of the United States.

Not only do the forerunner military profiteering corporations stand to make extravagant amounts of money but the government stands to gain as well, at least from a control perspective. The files that Edward Snowden leaked demonstrate, beyond all shadows of doubt, that since the attacks of 9/11 the NSA’s scope of power has been broadened so drastically as to include all forms of domestic surveillance. Obama’s response was to publicly admonish the NSA for taking such extreme actions. Then, when the public courts asserted that the NSA’s surveillance programs were indeed illegal, Obama proceeded to request that the secret FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court ignore that decision. Opposing the public court in secret is a demonstration in nervousness by the current administration. Obama’s democratic government doesn’t want to release the reigns of control that the war on terrorism has allowed them to establish. There can be no other viable reason considering that not one single terrorists has been caught through NSA surveillance. In fact, since 9/11 only two credible domestic terrorists have been arrested, and both of those were attempting absurd, incredibly underfunded, nigh impossible plans.

The American people, since September 11th have been treated no better than cattle at the end of a prod. The government is incredibly hesitant to loosen their grip because they are afraid of losing control. We aren’t a society of fools, it is time we woke up to this aggressive fear tactic. We have allocated more money fighting terrorism than some first world countries earn in yearly GDP. We have traveled across the world to fight allies, sacrificed our cellular, computer and personal freedoms. Terrorism as a whole, however, has been largely unhindered and our own citizens now live frightened lives, tainted by the ever present invisible threat of an extremist bomb. The republicans and democrats alike want you to continue to believe that no information is too personal for your government. They want you under their thumbs. I run as an independent because I don’t believe in politics for profit. A vote for Art Drew is a vote for a more transparent America, an America where we are no longer fearful.