The United States has poured billions of dollars into the war on terror. It is claimed that this has made us safer. However, this does not seem to be the case.
First, there is not much evidence that these billions have yielded any significant results. While the United States has not been attacked again, this seems to be most likely due to a lack of attempts as opposed to the result of a successful active defense.
Second, while terrorism is hyped as a major threat, this is simply not the case. Hence, spending billions fighting terror does not make us make safer. True, terrorists do blow things up and kill people. But, when terrorism is matched against other threats and examined statistically, terrorism is almost not even worth considering. For example, each year about 40,000 Americans are killed in automobile accidents. Each year thousands die in America because of lack of health care. Around the world millions sicken and die each year from preventable disease and from natural disasters. In comparison, terrorism kills relatively few people If we wish to get the most safety from our dollars, we should be spending that money to deal with the significant threats-unsafe traffic conditions, health issues, and natural disasters.
It might be objected that terrorists do kill people and, as some say, they want to kill all Americans. This is true-they do kill people. But, so do tobacco, alcohol, obesity, automobiles, and natural disasters. Regardless of what kills a person, they are still (obviously) dead. If the goal is to enhance safety and prevent deaths, the rational approach is to consider how to best use resources to minimize deaths. Given that terrorism causes very few deaths it seems irrational to expend so many resources for so little. A more rational approach is to focus on dealing with more serious threats that can be countered far more cost effectively.
So why are billions spent on terror? First, focusing on terror is an effective way of scaring people into being frightened sheep. In sheep mode people are willing to surrender their rights, stop questioning, and to simply go along. By pouring money into the problem, the politicians try to make it seem important. Second, those in power are generally opposed to social spending that would actually help people. By siphoning money into the war on terror they can use the shortage of funds to justify cutting social programs. Third, the billions spent on the war on terror are being funneled mostly to the “right people.” This is to say that it is going to fattening corporations and corrupt politicians. This war allows the government to simply dump money without much in the way of oversight. Hence, it is no shock that billions of dollars are simply missing.
What can end the senseless war on terror? The obvious thing would be yet another war. During the cold war terrorist acts were fairly common, but terrorism was on the back burner in the US. This is because we had the cold war to do all the things the war on terror is doing now: create fear, provide a black hole for dumping money, and so on. I suspect that the government always needs to have some sort of war going on-without that, people would realize that the state mostly exists to protect the wealthy and to take money from the many and siphon it to the few who already have far too much.