As GOP’s 9/11 Anniversary Approaches, It’s Clear We Overreacted
9/11 has become an anniversary co-oped and owned by the GOP to show how tough they are on terror, and to be used as a battering ram to attempt to show that liberals are the opposite. And it couldn’t make our enemies happier that every year it becomes a phantasmagorical event. As Fareed Zakaria notes, we should know by now that al Qaeda is just not a deadly threat.
Since that gruesome day in 2001, once governments everywhere began serious countermeasures, Osama bin Laden’s terror network has been unable to launch a single major attack on high-value targets in the United States and Europe. While it has inspired a few much smaller attacks by local jihadis, it has been unable to execute a single one itself. Today, Al Qaeda’s best hope is to find a troubled young man who has been radicalized over the Internet, and teach him to stuff his underwear with explosives.
The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest and William Arkin spent two years putting together a report on how 9/11 has changed our country, called “Top Secret America.”
Here are some of the highlights. Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has created or reconfigured at least 263 organizations to tackle some aspect of the war on terror. The amount of money spent on intelligence has risen by 250 percent, to $75 billion (and that’s the public number, which is a gross underestimate). That’s more than the rest of the world spends put together. Thirty-three new building complexes have been built for intelligence bureaucracies alone, occupying 17 million square feet—the equivalent of 22 U.S. Capitols or three Pentagons. Five miles southeast of the White House, the largest government site in 50 years is being built—at a cost of $3.4 billion…
Conservatives who get bent out of shape because of aid to the needy or because of a stimulus package ought to focus on where government expansion is truly a menace.
Some 30,000 people are now employed exclusively to listen in on phone conversations and other communications in the United States. And yet no one in Army intelligence noticed that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had been making a series of strange threats at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he trained. The father of the Nigerian “Christmas bomber” reported his son’s radicalism to the U.S. Embassy. But that message never made its way to the right people in this vast security apparatus. The plot was foiled only by the bomber’s own incompetence and some alert passengers.
We are in the midst of a war with no end, with no clear-cut definition of “victory” and with no diminution of the expanded government powers it has wrought. As James Madison said, “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual war.”Click here for reuse options!
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