Was the “War on Terror” Worth It?_Featured_, 9/11, War on Terror Friday, October 5th, 2012
America recently suffered its 2,000th casualty of the Afghanistan war, and that grim milestone warrants a moment of reflection on the wisdom of the war on terror. Unfortunately, the politicians responsible for the perpetuation of this war will most likely continue to refrain from evaluating both the underlying causes of terrorism and also the lives and money spent on the impossible task of eradicating it from the world without first confronting the underlying causes. But that should not stop the people from entertaining rational, non-fear based analyses of the objectives and results of this campaign.
- Disrupt the US Economy
- Bankrupt America
- Scare Americans into changing their policies and way of life
- Bog the American military down in un-winable conflicts around the world
- Damage the cohesiveness of the Western world
- Topple US-backed regimes in the Middle East
- End US support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine
- Kill or capture the terrorists responsible for 9-11
- Topple regimes supportive of terrorists
- Disrupt global terrorist networks
- Increase governmental power in an effort to thwart future terrorist attacks
- Gather intelligence about future terrorist attacks
- Increase the American presence in the Middle East
- Secure more funding and military assistance from the US
- Increase cooperation with Western governments against Islamic resistance movements like Hezbollah and Hamas
- Topple hostile regimes in Iraq, Libya, Iran, and Syria
September 11, 2001
According to the US Government, 19 high jackers spent an estimated $400,000-$500,000 on flight training classes, box cutters, and other expenses to perpetrate one of the largest and most damaging suicide attacks in history.
By now everyone knows that nearly 3,000 Americans tragically lost their lives on September 11, 2001. What haven’t been discussed in nearly as much depth are the economic implications. As a result, many myths about the financial costs of Sept. 11 still pervade the American public. For example, many Americans still believe that the most significant cost of the 9-11 attack was the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. In reality, these iconic skyscrapers were dilapidated at the time of the attack, and the cost to remove the considerable asbestos problem might have made a refurbishment untenable. The owner of the World Trade Center buildings, Larry Silverstein, was an American, and so his loss would have been felt in some small way by the US economy had he not insured the buildings just in case of a terrorist attack right before September 11, 2001. “Lucky Larry”, as Silverstein is sarcastically called today, didn’t lose a cent. In fact, he ended up making billions on the deal. Aside from the cleanup, the cost of the destruction of the buildings was not borne by America at all, but rather by a Swiss insurance company named Swiss Re.
The real cost of the 9-11 attacks was not the physical damage from the buildings, but rather the psychological damage. Not only did the September 11 attacks prompt a virtual shut down of the world’s leading city for quite some time for fear of further terrorist attacks, but it caused millions of Americans to abandon their holiday and business travel plans, which required flight. The damage to the tourism industry, airline industry, and rental car industry, among others, contributed to the devastation of the American financial market. The estimated peripheral damage from these factors was between $50-$100 billion.
It should also be noted that according to the government’s official account, World Trade Center building #7 collapsed due to a minuscule fire, which more than a thousand architects and engineers have gone on record stating that such as fire should not have been able to bring down a structurally sound building in such a demolition-like fashion. Either the government’s account is inaccurate, or the building was structurally unsound and likely to collapse soon. As a result of the attacks on the twin towers there was time to warn the inhabitants of building #7 to evacuate before it collapsed. If the government’s report on 9-11 is to be believed, then the September 11 attacks actually exposed the death trap that was building 7, and may have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. If the building would have collapsed without warning, which was clearly imminent given steel pylons that could not stand even a modest amount of heat, then everyone in the building and those in the surrounding areas would have likely perished.
Prior to the September 11 attacks, the Israeli government was operating one of the largest spy operations on America, in American history, including keeping close tabs on the would be Al-Qaeda hijackers. The information collected from the discovery of this spy ring actually led the FBI to conclude that Israel had to have known about the attacks prior to September 11, and failed to warn the government. To substantiate this, the Israeli newspaper Hareetz reported that Odigo, an Israeli company, admitted that its service was used to issue text message warnings to two of its employees advising them of the impending attacks hours in advance of the planes hitting the Twin Towers. Odigo is coincidentally located in the same city as the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad. After September 11, 2001, the US government deported more than 60 Israeli spies who were caught infiltrating dozens of US government agencies. Many of these spies failed lie-detector tests about their involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks. It is estimated that this spy operation cost the Israeli government tens of millions of dollars. The Israeli government also paid for a shell company to hire five Mossad agents to film the September 11 attack, and then celebrate afterwards. The “Dancing Israelis” probably celebrated for free, so scratch that cost.
The human costs of the war on terror have now dwarfed the number of casualties from the original terrorist attack. So far, 4,488 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and another 33,184 US soldiers have been wounded (Does not include PTS, or brain injuries). Aside from the 2,000 soldiers killed in Afghanistan, another 17,644 US soldiers have been wounded. Many of these wounded soldiers will receive benefits for their entire lives. Thousands of civilian contractors have also been killed, along with nearly 350 journalists. According to a new, massive cost of war study done by leading academics, the total costs for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will total between $3.7-$4.4 trillion.
The US-Led Coalition
1,066 non-US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan and 319 in Iraq. 16,623 Iraqi security forces and police have been killed, and 10,000 members of the Afghan security forces have also died in the line of duty. Many thousands more have been wounded.
Civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan
According to the Opinion Research Business Survey, over 1 million civilians have been killed in the Iraq war. The Lancet Survey says the number is over 650,000, and others estimate lower. According to the Associated Press, at least 20,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan. Reuters estimated that 7.8 million people were displaced as a result of the Iraq war.