Wednesday, April 30, 2008

THERE'S MONEY IN THEM THAR TERRORISTS

IAN S. LUSTICK, CONSORTIUM NEWS Why, absent any evidence of a serious domestic terror threat, is the War on Terror so enormous, so all-encompassing, and still expanding? The fundamental answer is that al-Qaeda's most important accomplishment was not to hijack our planes, but to hijack our political system.

For a multitude of politicians, interest groups, professional associations, corporations, media organizations, universities, local and state governments and federal agency officials, the War on Terror is now a major profit center, a funding bonanza, and a set of slogans and sound bites to be inserted into budget, project, grant and contract proposals. . .

In mid-2003, the Department of Homeland Security compiled a list of 160 potential terrorist targets, triggering intense efforts by representatives, senators and their constituents to find potential targets in their districts that might require protection and therefore be eligible for federal funding. The result? Widened definitions and blurrier categories of potential targets and mushrooming increases in the infrastructure and assets deemed worthy of protection.

By late 2003, the list had increased more than tenfold to 1,849; by 2004 it had grown to 28,364; by 2005 it mushroomed to 77,069; and by 2006 it was approximately 300,000. . .

The National Rifle Association declared that the War on Terror means more Americans should own firearms to defend against terrorists. . .

Schools of veterinary medicine called for quadrupling funding to train veterinarians to defend the country against terrorists using foot-and-mouth disease to decimate cattle herds. . .

In May 2007, Augusta, Ga., officials authorized spending $3 million to protect fire hydrants against terrorist tampering. This spending decision was recommended by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, which cited a 2004 government report labeling hydrants "a top vulnerability."

Universities also have benefited from the ready availability of new grant and contract funds, creating graduate programs in homeland security, institutes on terrorism and counterterrorism, and proposals for academic conferences. . .

In 2004, I attended a lecture given by the official in charge of encouraging scientists to shift their research activities in this direction. We were told that no matter what topics we worked on, and whether we were natural scientists or behavioral scientists, our work likely could help in the fight against terrorism.

1 Comments:

At April 30, 2008 10:30 PM, Anonymous robbie said...

This "War on Terror" is just a substitute for the "Cold War" Just another way for the government to justify out-of-control spending in pursuit of some "noble goal" of insuring our "security". They wanted to try this with the "War on Drugs" but they realized it wouldn't quite generate the big bucks.

 

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