Terror, Security, Money, Fear, Policy, Risk
Since, 9/11 we have increased our security related spending by about a trillion dollars. Economists, and financial and security experts are, now, increasingly questioning this immense amount of spending on tax payers dollars. Statistics are showing that the chances of an American dying in terrorism related incident is one in 3.5 million, compared to the chances of him or her dying of a cancer are 1 in 540. The annual budget of National Cancer Institute, on the other hand, is about 4.9 billion. Does it makes any sense, at all?
The standard method, which is not always followed, due to political considerations, lobbying and media hype, for allocation of funds in federal government and other similar institutes, and businesses is the risk based, cost benefit analysis or B/C. This type of analysis basically calculates the value for every dollar spent, in terms of how much net benefit is going to be, by this expenditure. Net benefit is calculated by measuring the net gain in the well-being of target population and / or decline in adverse outcomes. That will be saved lives, decrease in potential financial losses, and improvement in the general perception about security, in this case. Several authentic reports and many experts have concluded that standard rick based, cost benefit analysis is totally bypassed in security related legislation since 9/11. Most of the security measures implemented since then, make no sense in economic, financial and even in security terms. The basic motivation and intention behind most of these measures is to tell a population which is scared, their pants off, by big media that something is being done, instead of truly necessary security measures that make real sense, in terms of standard procedures.
We all know the resources are scarce and limited, country’s financial situation is getting tighter every day, while the challenges are enormous. This situation requires that every penny of tax payer’s dollars must be spent, carefully, and allocated in the most worthwhile manner. What we see here is totally opposite of what is needed and required by overall fiscal situation and availability of resources, for tasks like this.
Several studies have found that the terrorism related incidents are rare, but, have bigger consequences. Terrorists are not an organized army. They are mingled and mixed in general population, and historically they adapt their strategies to the changing security environment. The bases of terrorism are deep and wide, and most probably, it is nearly impossible to completely root out the terrorism from this world.
The most popular strategy within our government has been what is called as hardening of potential terrorist targets. The examples of this are the enhanced security measures on airports, airplanes, government and other strategically significant building and installations, increased security on sporting and other public events, improved security at nuclear facilities, no fly lists, etc. Problem with target hardening is that in a very affluent western world there is a very high number of potential targets, and it is virtually impossible to harden all of those without going bankrupt.
Another strategy, which has been very popular in our government, has been wars, attacks, nation building and other types of interference in other countries, suspected of harboring, helping or providing safe heaven to terrorists. This has been an utter failure, as well. In spite of spending over a trillion dollars on these wars and related activities, since 9/11, not much is achieved yet. Results have been mostly negative and disastrous. These wars are costing us lots of money and putting at the verge of bankruptcy. This is not just a theory, many other great nations in past and present, have been financially destroyed by wars, including Soviet Union, in case of Afghan war. They are causing enormous loss of life, both in our troops and those countries. Civilian deaths, property loss, continuous disturbances, and the foreign presence, per se are exponentially increasing, already existing hate against us. This is also helping the terrorists to sell their brands, especially to youth.
It looks like that terrorists did not achieve most of their targets and motives, but they have certainly achieved one very important one, so far. It is to scare us to the level that we make ourselves financially bankrupt, by grossly overspending on security and wars. It should be noted that it does not cost much for them to carry out terrorist attacks, but, it is costing us a fortune in the implementation of enhanced security measures. So, this has been a very disproportionate war, in terms of money, and if keeps going on like this, it is deemed to cause unbearable financial consequences for us. We, of course, don’t want that to happen. We don’t want them to win and us to lose. Our way of life way too precious to be lost in a war against terrorism. Trust me, uncontrolled and unchecked spending on security and wars, is a success for terrorist strategies.
A very big proof is of the argument that they want us to stay on this destructive path of overspending on security and wars, is that although they say, they want us out of Muslim countries, but, whenever we take real initiative to get out of those countries, terrorists groups always do everything possible to fail it, by doing things like increasing the intensity and frequency of their attacks. As a result the stupid politicians, and crazy big media, starts screaming that the conditions are still not good enough for our return from there. They actually want us to stay there so that they may keep running their brewery of hate.
Only thing that studies are showing, may work cost effectively, is a major change in our foreign policy. We must stop interfering in the affairs of those countries and leave them alone. I know this is contrary to the perception being built by media and politicians in the last decade. General impression is that our absence will provide these terrorist groups a heaven to grow and organize. My dear friends, with our total detachment, they will have no propaganda points against us, and it will be nearly impossible for them to spread hate against us, anymore.
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