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What Cost This War on Terror

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WHAT COST THIS WAR ON TERROR?

The attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in September, 2001, changed the US foreign policy substantially and irreversibly. According to President Bush, the US suddenly faced a new and much more menacing foe than it had faced in its history. Even during the great conflicts of the 20th Century, including the first and second world wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War the US was never attacked as frighteningly as it was on September 11, 2001. In a matter of two hours, nearly 3,000 people, mainly Americans, lay beneath the rubble at the World Trade Center and inside the Pentagon.

While the origins of the attacks themselves are still hotly debated in intellectual circles and think tanks around the globe, the results of the attacks are unmistakable. Immediately following the attacks from that fateful day, the US reformulated its foreign policy, shaping it around this new and powerful enemy, terrorism. Surprisingly enough, while nearly every hijacker aboard those fateful planes that day were from Saudi Arabia, the US decided to name other countries as the leading sponsor of this growing menace. President Bush promptly pointed his finger to the new axis of evil, Iraq, North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran. He stated emphatically that the US had entered into a new war, a war on terror.

Within a month the US invaded Afghanistan, ostensibly to rid the country of the ruling faction, the Taliban, as well as to remove all terrorist training camps as well as to capture and put on trial the supposed mastermind of the events of September 11, 2001, Osama Bin Laden. Within a year after those events, the US stepped up its bellicose rhetoric towards another member of this axis of evil, Iraq. Claiming that their President Saddam Hussein was involved with terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, had mass quantities of weapons of mass destruction, was in the process of obtaining nuclear weapons grade material and was an immediate threat to the United States and its allies, the US formed a quickly assembled coalition of some 30-odd countries, most of them small islands and tiny nations. The US, and the few allies who remain with the US, have been confronting terrorism head on since the events on 9/11. This report will discuss the effectual ramifications of that confrontation and their cost in monetary, social and human terms.



THE INCREASE OF TERRORIST ACTS WORLDWIDE


According to the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, the number of terrorist incidents worldwide in 1999 amounted to a total of 25. The following year, 2000, it rose to 48, but in 2001 the number was reduced back to a total of 25. Therefore, that was no significant change in the overall terrorist levels between 1999 and 2001. Furthermore, most of the increase in 2000 occurred in Asia and the Middle East, but had subsided by the end of the year 2001. In fact, most of these terrorist incidents occurred over protests by people either for or against abortion.

Even the following year, 2002, did not show a significant change in the number of terrorist incidents. Only 23 recorded incidents occurred that year, even though the US had already entered into the first of its two major Middle Eastern conflicts. But by the end of 2003, according to the Washington Post article dated April 27, 2005, terrorist incidents had increased to 175. That's more than a 760% increase over the previous year. Thus, while the Bush administration claimed it had entered Iraq to ultimately reduce terrorism around the world, we can see that after less than one year in Iraq, and two years in Afghanistan, worldwide terrorism had risen by over 700%.



By the end of 2004 that figure had more than tripled to 655. Again we see that Bush's so-called War on Terrorism was producing the exact opposite effect. With a 374% increase from the previous year, Bush's oft-touted war was sending the world farther and farther into the chasm of guerilla warfare and underground, subversive interventions. This horrific trend would continue to worsen. By the end of 2005, the number of terrorist attacks worldwide rose to a mind-numbing figure of 11,111 according to a Washington Post article dated April 29, 2006. This represents an overall increase of 1,700% over 2004. Clearly the great majority of these attacks were occurring in Afghanistan and Iraq, the two countries the US invaded illegally and without agreement from the UN or any other major international institution. According to official sources, the year 2006 ended with nearly 15,000 terrorist attacks worldwide, an increase of over 25% from the year before.

To recap then in 1999 there were 25 terrorist incidents worldwide. By the end of 2006 the number had risen to nearly 15,000. Bush's supposed war on terror was and is having the exact opposite effect from the stated goals he has been touting for the past six years. Clearly Bush's war on terrorism has benefited terrorists more than any other singular group. Without Bush's illegal intervention into Afghanistan and Iraq, the number of terrorist incidents would have more than likely hovered around the 25 or so, the number of incidents that occurred in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.

In conclusion, Bush's War on Terror has increased terrorism around the world by 60,000% since the year 2002.

But wait, there's more.

THE RISING COST OF THE WAR ON TERROR

The rise in terrorism around the globe is but one part in Bush's War on Terrorism. There is also the monetary cost of such an endeavor. The US military budget rose from $289 billion in 1998 to $643.9 billion in fiscal year 2008. This is an increase of 122.8% over the span of eleven years. Clearly the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have received the bulk of this money. In fact, just the Iraqi conflict by itself had cost US taxpayers over $510 billion and is expected to top $700 billion by the end of 2008.

And this does not include the cost of running Homeland Security. Between 2001 and 2005, the Department of Homeland Security's budget nearly doubled from $56 billion in 2001 to $99.5 billion in 2005. But as evidenced by the devastating destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, one of the chief components of the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, was completely inept at handling such a crisis. Millions of dollars of foreign aid sat rotting for months while lawlessness, looting, burglary and murder went rampant through the streets of New Orleans and elsewhere. The recent tornado that devastated the town of Greensburg, Kansas, found that much of the state's National Guard were actually serving overseas along with most of the heavy equipment that will be needed to rebuild the town. When Kansas turned to its neighboring states, the response was the same. No one had any spare equipment to send to Kansas to help the state in this time of need. Their men and equipment were likewise sent to Iraq to help with the fight.

In recent articles from the mass media the amount of money required to bring New Orleans and the surrounding parishes and neighboring states could easily top $200 billion. And that sum is merely what is required to bring the area back to what it was before the events of late August, 2005. At that time, New Orleans had one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation with rundown ghettos being more of the norm than the exception. Today the area better resembles an old war zone with devastated houses, vast areas littered with debris and homelessness rampant on nearly every street corner. As disaster after disaster amasses across the US, the realization that our first line of defense is not there. This well-regulated militia with tactical equipment, adequate sheltering and sufficient provisions, which could normally be summoned at a moment's notice to relieve the strain of Mother Nature's fury, is no longer available. These men, women and services are now in Iraq or Afghanistan fighting Bush's war on terror.

Another aspect to consider about the US deficit is the vast holdings of this debt by foreign nations. According to a US Treasury report dated April 23, 2007, the three largest holders of US Treasury Securities are Japan, with over $600 billion; China; with over $400 billion and the United Kingdom over $100 billion. Should these countries decide to divest themselves of the US dollar, the Bush government would not have enough gold or other currency to pay them all. An act of this magnitude would surely cripple the US economy for decades to come.

While the Bush administration has consistently reduced federal spending on education, welfare, medical costs, and infrastructure, it has increased just as consistently military costs, and tax cuts for the top 1% of Americans. The result is a current budget deficit that hovers very close to the debt ceiling of $9 trillion. In his six years in office, President Bush has increased the debt ceiling of the United States five times. The debt ceiling is the upper limit of spending allowed by the government. Bush had had to do so in order to finance his war on terror, because nearly every other area of the economy has seen their spending cut in those same years. In fiscal year 2007 Congress will be obligated to raise the debt ceiling once again. The current fiscal debt now stands a just a few tens of billions of dollars shy of the current debt ceiling and it is safe to assume that the new budget, while continuing to suppress such programs for education, health and welfare of the nation, will need to increase in order to continue to fight Bush's war on terror.

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57 year old Californian male - I've lived in four different countries, USA, Switzerland, Mexico, Venezuela - speak three languages fluently, English, French, Spanish - part-time journalist for Empower-Sport Magazine. I also write four newsletters.
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When you think of the lack of national guard units... by Jay Timmins on Monday, Sep 1, 2008 at 8:26:53 PM