Sep 22, 2003

Part I The High Cost of the Illusion of Security

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The opening scene of “Rollover” begins with a long slow pan of the Great Blue Whale that hangs in the ceiling of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. The film then shifts to the World Trade Center with a long pan up the twin towers to a penthouse suite where a “Master of the Universe” sits at a large desk. A dark figure slips from behind a velvet curtain and blood appears on the desk and it's documents as the scene cuts back to a glitzy fundraiser taking place beneath the great blue whale in the museum. Kris Kristofferson then says to Jane Fonda as they gaze at the giant 100 ft long 150ton whale; “His size and strength must have given him the illusion of security.”

It is ironic that the murder took place in the WTC, the destruction of which has destroyed our “Illusion of Security”. The feelings of the thousands who traveled up those long elevators every day to work high above the streets of Manhattan must have included a sense of invincibility and security to be so far above the teeming streets below. The lesson we may never learn is that there is no such thing as absolute security and we chase the illusion at our peril.
FBI estimates 9-11 attacks cost perpetrators under $250,000.
Investigators have traced the funding for the Sept. 11 attacks to al-Queda accounts in Pakistan, Officials did little to clarify the Saudi role in the funding.
The FBI has estimated the Sept. 11 attacks cost between $175,000 and $250,000. That money, which paid for flight training, travel and other expenses, flowed to the hijackers through associates in Germany and the United Arab Emirates. Those associates reported to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who managed much of the planning for the attacks from Pakistan, U.S. officials said.
16 dedicated Islamic Zealots with $200,000, some boxcutters, and 16 airline tickets brought down the World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon and killed 3000 people.

But that was only the beginning of what their actions have cost us Let's add it up:
1) A massive mobilization of military might in Afghanistan costing hundreds of millions a month.
2) A more massive mobilization of military might against IRAQ costing a billion dollars a WEEK.
3) The enactment of the Homeland Security Bill creating the biggest bureaucracy in recent history at a cost of billions.
4) The enactment of the Patriot Act that abridged more freedoms that any act in recent history.
5) The largest deficits in our history coupled with the massive tax cuts by this administration.
6) The removal of Saddam Hussein opening the possibility of an Islamic State
7) The weakened monarchy in Saudi Arabia and removal of our military presence opening the way to a potential overthrow and another Islamic State.
8) This funding news will do nothing to stabilize the relationship between Pakistan and the United States.
9) A brief period of worldwide sympathy and unity squandered rapidly by our leadership to become worldwide distrust.
10) The most bloated military budget in our history with the smallest army.

What an incredible return on an “investment” of a mere $200,000 and 16 lives.

The World Today:
1) North Korea is flexing a nuclear capability
2) China may be preparing to invade Taiwan
3) Iran is approaching nuclear capability
4) Liberia is a new drain on US military and financial resources
5) Afghanistan is requiring attention, manpower and money
6) Iraq is proving difficult to pacify and is draining 1 billion dollars a week. Soldiers are getting sick and reluctant to return.
7) We do not have enough troops to fully cover the current needs.

This administration and this pResident have left us dangerously overexposed and stretched too thin. The headlong dash into Iraq on false pretenses has opened us up to treachery at home and endangered allies abroad. North Korea and China are salivating at our exposure and our weakness. Our real security has never been more at risk than it is today primarily because of our exposure in Iraq - an exposure we suffer because of the deceit and duplicity of our present misleaders.

After all of the expense and effort chasing our illusion of security we fail to recognize the obvious. Only 16 men and $200,000 caused all of this terror and expense. It did not require weapons of mass destruction, or military training, or massive mobilization of forces. It required only boxcutters and airline tickets and a willingness to die. Could anything encourage Islamic Zealots more than this kind of success?

American's suffered through decades of security checks at airports that cost us billions of dollars and that did not stop 9/11 nor do we know if it ever stopped anything. We have spent 100's of billions since 9/11 on Homeland Security and a War of Terror and we have no reason to believe that 16 more men who are willing to die could not do it again. Blinded by our fear we have fed the greed of those who promise something no one can deliver but ourselves. The only freedom from terror is the refusal to be terrified.

NEXT: The only thing we have to fear.

RELATED LINKS:
The Liberal Oasis has the Sunday Bush Talk to keep the fear fire burning.
TBogg leads us to a very important related story.
The futility of the Flypaper Theory on Unqualified Offerings by way of Crooked Timber
Andrew Sullivan is among the few who take Flypaper as a serious way to keep terrorist away from the USA. Of course he bought the Elephant Repellant from the snake oil salesman. "Look it is working no terror attacks in 2 years and we only spent 300 billion dollars" "What a bargain for a few hundred American lives."
For more fakery and illusions try Reality Check
The Cosmic Iguana has one of the best raps on the War on Terrorism today
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