The Depressing Results of the War on Terrorism
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Don’t be surprised if the prices for antidepressants soar even higher than they already are. That’s because U.S. counterterrorism officials are horrible depressed about the results of their much-vaunted “war on terrorism.”
According to an article entitled “In Campaign Against Terrorism, U.S. Enters Period of Pessimism and Gloom,” in last week’s Washington Post, “U.S. Counterterrorism officials and experts, never known for their sunny dispositions, have entered a period of particular gloom.”
Despite 14 years of the war on terrorism, there are more terrorists than ever before. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. told Congress that the trend lines were worse “than at any other point in history,” although we probably should discount that statement a bit given that Clapper doesn’t have the most spectacular record when it comes to telling the truth to Congress when he’s under oath.
Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, the commander of U.S. Special Operations in the Middle East, said that he regards ISIS as a bigger threat than al-Qaeda ever was.
The article pointed out that these people have reason to be so gloomy. ISIS, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Boko Haram.
It just never seems to stop, does it? Michael Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, appears especially depressed. He said, “This is long term. My children’s generation and my grandchildren’s generation will still be fighting this fight.”
The reason for this deep depression is that U.S. national-security officials went into their war on terrorism on a wave of optimism. They were going to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq and eliminate every potential terrorist by killing them. At the end of the war, all the evil people would have been exterminated and the Middle East and Afghanistan would be left with nothing but peaceful, docile, passive people who would bow in gratitude to U.S. national-security state officials.
It’s a shame that these people didn’t pay attention to what we have been saying here at The Future of Freedom Foundation for the past 15 years or so — in fact, even before the 9/11 attacks. We have consistently told these people that it was their very own brutal interventionist policies in the Middle East that were producing the anger and hatred that brought on the ever-present threat of terrorist retaliation. Stop the interventionism, we said, and the terrorist threat against the United States would disintegrate.
We told them that the solution was to pull all U.S. troops out of the Middle East and bring them home, lift the deadly sanctions against Iraq, apologize for U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright’s infamous statement that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were “worth it,” and stop the foreign aid to the Israeli government and Middle East dictatorships.
Stop the killing, we said. Stop the meddling. Stop the interventionism. Stop pouring fuel on the fire.
But that was the last thing the Empire wanted to do. After having lost communism and the Soviet Union as an official enemy, the Empire needed a new official enemy. What better enemy than terrorism to replace communism.
So, after the 9/11 attacks the Empire doubled down and did more of the same in that part of the world. More death. More destruction. More humiliation. More abuse.
And not surprisingly, more anger, more hatred, and more threats of terrorist retaliation. As I wrote many years ago, the U.S. Empire has become the greatest terrorist-producing machine in history. With every person they kill in the Middle East (and Afghanistan), they produce ten new people who are thirsty for revenge. It’s really a never ending process.
I’m no therapist but perhaps I can say something that will brighten the spirits of national-security state officials—something that perhaps they haven’t thought about before: Since you’re bound and determined to keep doing the same things you’ve done and expecting different results, look at the bright side for you people: Your policies make the war on terrorism perpetual, which means ever-increasing budgets for you people and for your ever-growing army of “defense” contractors and weapons suppliers. Oh sure, this isn’t good for the taxpayers, but heck you guys will be sitting in high cotton for the next several decades. Why, that’s even better than the Cold War, which kept you all in high cotton for some 45 years!
Of course, there is a better way, one that would end the threat of anti-American terrorism. That solution would be to copy the foreign policy of the Swiss, which is limited to keeping troops at home to engage only in defense. No foreign military bases. No big standing army. No foreign interventionism. No CIA. In other words, restore the foreign policy principles of our Founding Fathers, who modeled their foreign policy principles on those of the Swiss when they called the federal government into existence with the Constitution.
Just think: No more Empire and no more foreign interventionism would mean no more depression and no more anxiety over terrorism. Just peaceful and harmonious relations with the people of the world.
And just think how the prices for antidepressants would plummet.