The United States of Anxiety

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Published on The Daily Impact on June 10, 2015

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Any minute, in any place, the terrorists could strike. We’re the only ones who can save you. Vote for us.

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In this the fifteenth successful year of the War on Terror, it is fitting that the leaders of a crumbling empire report to their terrified citizens on the hard-won battles that have been prosecuted in their names. Yesterday, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, did just that, with a forthright report to the oxymoronic Senate Intelligence Committee. Allow me to set the stage:

  • For 15 years, the military power of the largest, richest, most advanced armed forces in the world, in the history of the world, have been deployed against a force of musket-wielding, Toyota-truck-driving desperadoes whose aggregate numbers have probably never exceeded the population of Winchester, Virginia.
  • The United States has spent approximately $14 million per hour on this war, for 15 years — nearly two trillion dollars and counting — on an enemy that has no air force, no navy, no heavy missiles, no armor, no artillery, and not much money.
  • On 9/11/2001, Al Qaeda had about 20,000 fighters. To punish them for their attack on the World Trade Center, we invaded two countries, killed an estimated 1.3 million people (that’s just in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan) and suffered 10,000 American fatalities.

 

Now to the gist of Director Brennan’s report on the state of play, with just a tad of paraphrasing:

  • Today, ISIS has more fighters and holds more territory than Al Qaeda (the organization from which ISIS sprang) ever did. “Despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield,” Brennan said, with a completely straight face, “our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach.”
  • Given that level of success, Brennan indicated that we intend to continue the same efforts, and the same spending levels, until, and here I am paraphrasing just a bit, hell freezes over.
  • Should we expect ISIS to fold anytime soon? No, said Brennan, we should expect that it “will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda.”

Meanwhile, back at home, the war on domestic terror is having similar success. In just two years, 90 Americans have been charged with having something to do with ISIS. This is not nearly as many Americans as claim to have been abducted by extraterrestrials, but is still a significant number.

The bad news is that in at least two thirds of the cases brought, undercover FBI agents have suggested the alleged plot, often aggressively; have facilitated the plot with cash, transportation, and suggestions to people not obviously adept at problem-solving; and have provided weapons and explosives to people who would have trouble buying and using cell phones.

Former FBI undercover agent Michael German told The New York Times this week that his former colleagues target people who, as German put it, “are five steps away from being a danger to the United States.” They are, he says bluntly, “manufacturing terrorism cases.”

The typical targets of the FBI stingers are poor, unstable misfits many of whom suffer from, even are under treatment for, mental illness. In one 2012 case, the FBI, after laboriously talking Sammi Osmakac into becoming a terrorist, provided a camera and crew so he could record his martyrdom video, a “suicide belt” for him to wear to the Irish bar that was his target, an AK-47 assault rifle, a pistol — oh, and cab fare to the scene of the crime. Then they arrested him and called a news conference. Another victory in the war on terror.   

Which continues.

One Response to The United States of Anxiety

  • Grace Adams says:

    War is good for justifying lucrative contracts for our Military Industrial Complex.

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