Thursday, December 3, 2015

Affordable Terrorism Act

The truth is incontrovertible.
Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it,
but in the end, there it is
--Winston Churchill 

It is reported this month that the cost of the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) is approaching $4 trillion. It is a number hard to conceptualize. Few federal programs are funded to this figure (over a 12-year span). 

Moreover, we do not know what we are buying, or for or from whom. The expense is buried in secret budgets, state and local costs and the expenditures of the Departments of Defense and State. We cannot evaluate either the intent or capabilities of the terrorists, yet we throw mega dollars at the concept. 

The benchmark of a viable project is that it defines the problem and the subject (population), and from this it formulates an approach. We have fallen short in the PWOT.

Pretend for a moment that the United States took no military action following the attacks of 9-11-01, as we did following the attacks in Beirut (1983) and Iran (1979). Let us say we realized that that war is not the correct response to a low-level terrorist attack.

Now fast-forward to 2015: Can we say with any certainty that the lavish expenditures of the PWOT minimized future attacks on the homeland? 

It was Ranger’s position following the attacks that there would be no follow-on scenarios because the group lacked the capabilities to do so. The opposing camp says that it was the ensuing expensive military campaign which has thwarted any such potential events. In making a judgment, it is important to consider the quality of the piddling, pathetic efforts made by the sad sack terrorists manqué here at home, i.e., Jose Padilla, Richard Reid (the “shoe bomber”); Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the "underwear bomber"), the Ohio bridge bombers, et al.

We need an Affordable Terrorism Act (ATA). But to agree to such a thing, we would have to believe in ourselves and in an observable world order.

We would have to accept that:

  • The Taliban were and are not a threat to our internal security
  • The Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein was not a threat to the U.S.
  • Islamic State is not a high-level threat. However, if they are we must acknowledge that their existence is due to our actions in their country of origin. 
  • We must accept that we have no Arab friends, and that calling any Arab nation an ally is a lie
  • The threat facing Europe is not the same threat facing the U.S.

If we accepted these things, Ranger’s suggestions would include:

  • Eliminate the NSA focus on collection of data from U.S. citizens. Have them focus instead upon foreign threats, per their charter.
  • Put the Central Intelligence Agency back into the CIA business
  • Put the Defense Intelligence Agency back into the DIA business
  • Cease world-wide drone strikes. Focus on international and police and intelligence interplay.
  • Reinstate the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the sole counter-intelligence terrorist agency in the continental U.S.
  • Let the DoD concentrate on war-fighting, rather than police-oriented efforts
  • Respect the sovereignty of all nations, to include Syria

We cannot afford an open-ended war of such extravagant spending when our social welfare system struggles to provide services to needy Americans. We can ill-afford this ongoing distraction.

When 40 million Americans got to bed hungry each night it seems superfluous to say terrorism is a threat to our way of life.

[cross-posted @ RangerAgainstWar.]


  1. That'd work for me. All you have to do now is sell that to aaaaaall the people making money and aaaaall the people making political hay out of those SCARY MUSLIM TERRORISTS!!!!!!

    Yeah. That'll work.

    Sorry. After the goddamn San Bernardino thing I'm feeling completely cynical about this country. We really are our own worst enemies.

  2. The Chief said everything I was about to say.

  3. Well, I think the answer lies in an educated population who make enough of a living to indulge themselves the leisure of being active participants in a representative democracy.

    Arranging this situation I leave as an exercise to the interested reader.

  4. Worth noting the Republican reaction to Obama's speech the other night which was, pretty much, what you're advocating other than the what I agree is the fundamental mistaken assumption that "we are at WOAH!" with these jihadi groups.

    It was, almost to a degree, completely unhinged. Their universal take was that Obummer was his usual faggot secret-Muslim self for insisting on a reasoned assessment of the actual "threat" and a proportionate response and for not ripping his shirt off, leaping on top of the desk, and screaming Kreegah! Obama bundolo!" at the top of his lungs, i.e., demanding the extermination of the brutes.

    My personal favorite, by the way, was the response of SEN Marco Rubio, the "thinking man's" Republican: "We are at war with a radical jihadist group, more capable than any terrorist group, more capable than any terrorist group and any armed insurgency this nation ever has confronted."

    Now you'll have to excuse me.

    Me and Senator Rubio and this piece of fucking dimension lumber here are going into this little room until I have beaten into his pointy little fucking head the following three words:




    "...more capable than...any armed insurgency this nation has ever confronted."

    Honestly! And this is what you want to try and beat into intelligence? I've chaptered out privates with more promise than this.

  5. "We must accept that we have no Arab friends, and that calling any Arab nation an ally is a lie."

    Two points:

    1. Nations do not have "friends", they have interests.
    2. The United States' relationship with the nation of Israel breaks Rule #1. The primary reason the US' relationship with the Arab states is so fraught is that it has shown - often contrary to its own interests - that is will back Israel, right or wrong.

    My own position on this issue ("Israel is the most worthless U.S. "ally" outside fucking Andorra...") aside, one thing that should play into this whole "intelligent counterterrorism" thing is the hard and cold assessment of the value of the various factions in the Middle East. It will not, and largely because the whole question of "What are the U.S. interests in the Middle East" is permanently and massively skewed by the unshakeable grip that Israel has on U.S. Middle Eastern policies...

    1. Chief- We seem to have a penchant for throwing good money after bad. It seems that once we do something stupid, we need to continue that stupid decision to somehow make stupid seem not stupid. Thus the logic about Iraq. Had we only stayed there long enough, it would have turned out just peachy.

      We have invested so much money and emotion in Israel, it's virtually impossible to alter our policy course.

    2. No question. Democrat or Republican, the first act of any U.S. politician is to pledge fealty to Israel and its policies.

      Thing is...I LIKE Israelis, generally speaking. The ones I've met are tough, smart, intelligent, realistic people. Most of them, like most of us, despair of the stupid things their governments do (a lot of the ones I met accused the orthodox and "the Russians", that is, the wave of immigrants that swamped the country right after the fall of the Soviet Union).

      But that's me as a person. I expect my government to act not based on my likes and dislikes but on my nation's interests which are, in the Middle East; 1) peace and contentment in the region, 2) passage through Suez, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf, and 3) trade, including petroleum. Israel's current aggressive pursuit of lebensraum in the Territories works against all of those interests.

      I don't actually expect realism vis-a-vis Israel, but it'd be nice to hear a politician or two admit that our current policies are the geopolitical equivalent of hitting ourselves in the head with a hammer...

  6. Chief,
    if i understand you correctly you are saying that if Israel disappeared into a black hole then middle eastern terrorism will disappear.
    good luck with that thought.
    jim hruska

    1. Not today, no. The current situation is the result of decades of Israel cuddling sweetened by GWB's idiocy.

    2. jim

      I would add that if we never evaluate what got the situation fucked up, we will repeat those errors again in the future. I'm not sure we can untangle the mess we made. Will take more than my geriatric brain to do it.

    3. No, jim, that's silly and you know it and I know it, too. We screwed that pooch years ago and, as a result, have built up a deep reservoir of resentment and hatred in the Muslim world (without, I should add, accumulating any real gratitude or consideration in Israel; most Israelis I ran into considered us gullible and slightly stupid, like a pleasant but retarded nephew).

      At this point the BEST we could do is START acting like we have actual interests in the Middle East. It would include treating the Arab-Israeli disputes more like actual third party arguments. It would start by demanding that Jordan take back the West Bank - ALL the West Bank, the squatters would have to unass the fucker - and Egypt Gaza and that those countries would have to be responsible for their Gazan and West Bank residents behavior.

      It wouldn't make Middle Eastern terrorism disappear. We'd have to go a long way towards unfucking the legacy of things like the Mossadegh coup and bankrolling the Egyptian and Saudi dictatorships, too. But it's be a start.

      Oh, and speaking of Israel...fuck Jonathon Pollard, by the way. That treacherous bastard should still be rotting in jail. The lie is put to the narrative that he was a Jewish patriot by the fact that the slimy sonofabitch tried to betray this country to the Pakis and then the South Africans first but neither place trusted the sleazy little craphound.

      If his release helps make Netanyahu STFU about the Iran deal then that'll be the first time this human by-product has done anything worthwhile in 30 years.

    4. At times, the whole idea of the "War on Terror" reminds me of a remark that was popular amongst older, career Aviation Warrants during Viet Nam.

      Viet Nam may be a penny ante war, but it's the only war we've got. Enjoy the faster promotions, $65/month combat pay, combat tax exclusions and cheap PACEX prices. It won't last forever.

      Learning from Viet Nam, it would seem that those with a vested interest in the PWOT are trying to make this penny ante war truly last forever.

    5. ...which, in turn, leads me to the moment in the Coppola film where Robert Duvall as the whacko aircav officer has air assaulted his whole battalion in to secure the best break in Vietnam goes into this bizarre riff about how napalm smells like victory and suddenly squats down next to his listener and says;

      "Someday this war's gonna end..."

      and thinks about that for a minute and then just walks away.

      I think all these PWarriors have the same problem; there's no way this ends well, so there's no way to "end" it at all. There's no way to see out the end of this shithole that doesn't lead to more shit.

    6. "There's no way to see out the end of this shithole that doesn't lead to more shit."

      My Uncle once said:

      If you fall into a cesspool, you need to get out as quickly as possible, because if you are in a cesspool long enough, the smell of shit becomes the normal state of affairs. If the smell of shit is the normal state of affairs long enough, you begin to accept shit as a good thing. If you accept shit as a good thing long enough, you aspire to be shit.

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