Tuesday, January 27, 2015


The war on terror is not an actual war. We discuss this in my International Relations course every year ...

Unfortunately, most Americans don't have a clue what the difference is between a real enemy (Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, etc.) and an abstract concept. Peddling the idea that you're somehow on the front lines of the a war on terror, and should be in constant fear, is Madison Avenue gold for the military-industrial complex. If you're already afraid of non-English speaking dark people, who don't worship as you do, the "war on terror" almost sells itself in America. 

But should Americans buy into the idea that they will one day be caught up in a terrorist attack?  Absolutely not.

According to the Center for Disease Control you are 110 times more likely to die from contaminated food than you are from a terrorist attack. You're also more likely to be hit by lightening or win the lottery than die at the hands of a terrorist. You're  4,706 times more likely to drink yourself to death before you die in a terror attack. 

Heck, you just might be killed by a toddler before you are killed by a terrorist (click here for more). 

In spite of these realities we continue to build a national security state because, well ... it's our national duty to be afraid. We're told to be afraid of everything from Sharia law (Kansas is particularly paranoid) to the ever dangerous terror babies.

If you're interested in some real facts, especially how all of this has impacted our lives, check out what the Washington Post revealed in "Top Secret America" ...
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counter terrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the U.S.
* Nearly 1 and 1/2 times the number of people who live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
* In the D.C. metropolitan area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since 9/11. They occupy the equivalent of three Pentagons.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the exact same work, creating redundancy and waste.
* 50,000 intelligence reports are issued each year (about 1,000 a week), which even senior officials admit cannot possibly be digested.
This national security apparatus, with all of the secrecy and paranoia it perpetuates, grows every day. It's what is now dragging us into endless wars that we can't win. As James Fallows pointed out in The Atlantic this past December, this is one of the great tragedies of the American military today.

But, by all means, be afraid America. 

It's your duty to be afraid.

- Mark 

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