Posted: August 23rd, 2010 by Militant Libertarian
Among the premises with which the Feds justify their War on Terror are the hordes of bad guys overrunning the planet. The government wants us to believe that millions of terrorists lurk worldwide, scheming to blow us sky-high. They penetrate our airports and spy on our infrastructure. In their spare time, they form sleeper cells that fiendishly and seamlessly blend into our communities. Indeed, one has probably infiltrated your neighborhood.
Protecting us from this threat domestically and internationally requires corresponding millions of bureaucrats, cops, and soldiers as well as trillions of our taxes — and, of course, the surrender of our freedom, dignity, and privacy to the State.
Intriguingly, the Feds themselves gainsay this foolishness every year in a publication entitled Country Reports on Terrorism. The Department of State issues it — and you won’t be surprised to learn that though “U.S. law requires the Secretary of State to provide [it to] Congress, by April 30 of each year,” the Report for 2009 appeared only earlier this month. Try paying your taxes that late and see what happens.
While this compendium claims to be “a full and complete report on terrorism with regard to those countries and groups meeting criteria set forth in the legislation,” we should remember that bureaucrats’ native language is Newspeak and that words in this dialect mean whatever the political class wants them to. If the Feds define “terrorism” the way they do “enemy combatant,” the Report may count your grandmother among The Enemy: in 2004, U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Greene asked a lawyer for the Department of Justice, “‘If a little old lady in Switzerland gave money to a charity for an Afghan orphanage, and the money was passed to al Qaeda, could she be held as an enemy combatant?’… [Attorney Brian] Boyle indicated that might fit within the definition of enemy combatant…”
Add to this absurdity the political component to identifying “terrorists” — one so heavy-handed that it ought to invalidate every such governmental allegation: generally, politicians tar as “terrorists” foreigners who object to America’s international meddling and who arm themselves against the invaders enforcing that meddling.
So how many “terrorists” — grandmothers, dissidents, or otherwise — skulk out there? The Report lists 44 “foreign terrorist organizations.”
It also estimates their “strength,” i.e., membership. In a few cases, the Report offers hard numbers: for example, Asbat Al-Ansar “commands between 100 and 300 fighters in Lebanon” while “the Philippines government estimated that there were around 5,000 [Communist Party Of Philippines/New People’s Army] members at the end of 2009.”
But mostly we’re dealing with ranges that are fuzzy at best : “HAMAS probably has several thousand operatives … HUM has several hundred armed supporters… [Jaish-e-Mohammed] has at least several hundred armed supporters … Estimates of total [Jemaah Islamiya] members vary from 500 to several thousand… ” And in fourteen cases, the Report throws up its hands to admit the “strength” is “unknown.”
We’ll give the Feds something they never give us: the benefit of the doubt. Let’s take the higher figure in all instances, so that “between 100 and 300 fighters” becomes a firm 300. We’ll also interpret “several” and “few” as 5, meaning that “several hundred” or “a few dozen” respectively equal 500 and 60. Finally, when we tote up the 30 groups for whom State lists some sort of “strength,” we’ll double the sum to account for the 14 “unknowns.”
Yep, we’re being generous. Extremely so. And yet our method still yields just 150,000 terrorists worldwide.
That’s less than the population of Springfield, Massachusetts; Cape Coral, Florida; or Dayton, Ohio. Less than the number of souls living in 3 square miles of Manhattan (66,939 persons per square mile, according to the US Census for 2000). Less thanthe number of teachers’ jobs Obama claims he will “save” by robbing us of another $10 billion.
And it’s laughably less than the 216,000 bureaucrats at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), whose “missions … are to prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks; protect the American people, our critical infrastructure, and key resources; and respond to and recover from incidents that do occur.” If this Orwellian agency with the Nazi name truly hoped to “protect the American people,” let alone “our… key resources,” it would disband and leave us in peace: after devouring $43 billion of our wealth this year alone, its components will strip-search us at airports, persecute immigrants, and raise the prices we pay for goods by enforcing tariffs.
Meanwhile, DHS is only one of the armies battling the Constitution—sorry, those 150,000 terrorists. Multitudes of other national, state, and local bureaucracies also claim “terrorism” as their bete noir, from the National Security Agency to theFusion Center downtown. And cops coast to coast have joined the fray, too — all 883,600 of them. Then there are the 854,000 “workers” in “Top Secret America” that the Washington Post recently and famously exposed, a blend of corporate and governmental drones who collect every possible scrap of information about everyone everywhere on the pretense that we’re all budding bin Ladens. And of course America’s armed forces account for another 1,434,761 Warriors. As of July, 65,000 of them milled about Iraq, presumably bearding terrorists in their dens — else why are we in Iraq? Could it be … oh, surely not … because our rulers covet Iraq’s oil? — while another 95,000 pestered Afghanis — or worse.
It seems, then, that we have several million Americans armed with all the latest gizmos and trillions of our dollars arrayed against 150,000 guys, tops, who live in jungles and caves. Not to mention other nations’ bureaucracies and armies with their sites locked on these same 150,000.
But it gets worse: most of the 44 “foreign terrorist organizations” are and will remain local. In other words, they have little interest and less involvement in affairs outside their region. For example, Peru’s Shining Path, whose “stated goal is to destroyexisting Peruvian institutions and replace them with a communist peasant revolutionary regime,” has as its “Location/Area of Operation: Peru, with most activity in rural areas, specifically the Huallaga Valley, the Ene River, and the Apurimac Valley of central Peru.” Another group, the “Real Irish Republican Army,” confines itself to “Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and the Irish Republic.” Even Hizbollah, with its “thousands of supporters” and “several thousand members,” “operates” only “in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon.”
The sole connection any of these “organizations” have with the US is that occasionally, one of them draws “financial support” from “North America” — presumably from private sources rather than politicians’ foreign aid since the Report disapproves of the phenomenon. But only bureaucrats could possibly conflate the aforementioned little old lady contributing to what she mistakes for a charity with a Marxist guerilla booby-trapping Wal-Mart’s parking lot or tossing grenades at the World Series.
Certainly, farmers in Peru’s Apurimac Valley or shopkeepers in Northern Ireland suffer from terrorists’ evil — but their tragedies, however overwhelming and heartrending, don’t threaten America. Nor should we allow the Feds to exploit these horrors as they flout the Constitution to police the world (which arguably inspires much of the violence).
One of the 44 groups does profess its ambition to hit the ol’ “Homeland,” though that goal may be out of date by now: “[Al-Qa’ida’s] leaders issued a statement in February 1998,” the Report reports, “… saying it was the duty of all Muslims to kill U.S. citizens, civilian and military, and their allies everywhere.” Some of the other 43 can boast of American casualties, but their victims tend to be personnel from either embassies or the military — in other words, Americans furthering an unconstitutional empire. Pretending that an eighteen-year-old recruit to Ansar Al-Islam in Iraq, who hopes to “[expel] the U.S.-led Coalition” and who therefore “attacks … a wide range of targets including Coalition Forces, the Iraqi government and security forces, and Kurdish and Shia figures,” somehow threatens the “Homeland” is disingenuous at best; at worst, it’s a murderous lie that has killed over 4400 American troops and untold numbers of Iraqis as it devastates their country.
Rarely, terrorists prey on American citizens travelling, living, or working abroad, such as “the abduction and murder in 2002 of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.” And again, these are horrific tragedies. But they’re also freak incidents that should hardly form the basis of our foreign policy, let alone a war on two fronts and domestically.
Warriors on Terror will argue that all it takes to kill thousands is just one nut with a backpack full of explosives. But though these sorts of attacks plague many countries, they almost never happen here. In fact, terrorism is one of the most remote dangers Americans face, so unlikely that the National Safety Council (NSC) didn’t even explicitly list it in 2006 when calculating the odds of dying from various causes.
Would that the authorities who claim to protect us were as unsuccessful at slaughtering us! Average Americans are at far greater risk of “legal execution” from their own government (1 in 79,999) than of an illegal one from terrorists (0).
This sorry statistic becomes even grimmer when we add deaths from cops’ brutality. In just the first three months of this year, there were “52 Fatalities attributed to alleged acts of police misconduct,” according to The National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project. Americans in the “Homeland” who died from terrorism during that same period? Zero.
Then there are what the Feds indulgently dismiss as “Justifiable Homicides.” You might think these leeches would lament our deaths since we are, after all, the geese laying their golden eggs. But no. Catch this stunner from the US Department of Justice: “the use of deadly force against a police officer is almost never justified, while the use of deadly force by police often is… [K]illings by police are referred to as ‘justifiable homicides,’ and the persons that police kill are referred to as ‘felons.'” The logic here is so circular it’s dizzying: cops kill felons who are felons because cops killed them. “Police justifiably kill on average nearly 400 felons each year,” year after year.
Pretend for a moment that the scores were reversed, that terrorists rather than our own government are killing us. Would that justify the Feds’ silly War and its destruction of freedom? Absolutely not! The oft-quoted “They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” aphorizes what numerous studies and stats like those above prove: the greatest threat to safety and security is government. Indeed, it’s the greatest threat to peace, prosperity, and everything decent. Trusting the State to protect us from terrorists is like swallowing cyanide to ward off vampires. It’s a cure infinitely worse than the disease.
For nine years, politicians and bureaucrats have insisted that terrorists rather than they themselves endanger us. According to their own Country Reports on Terrorism, they’re lying — again.