The only thing we have to fear is fear itself– nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
—Franklin D. Roosevelt
In a post 9/11 world, Americans are stricken with and overwhelming sense of fear. Fear of terrorism, debt, and everything in between. We’re bombarded by the media, constantly reminded that radical Islamic fundamentalists are on our doorstep and another attack is all but a foregone conclusion. How many Americans have been killed as a direct result of terrorism? What are the odds of dying in a terrorist attack?
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has just published, Background Report: 9/11, Ten Years Later which notes, excluding the 9/11 atrocities, that fewer than 500 people died in the U.S. from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2010.
A quick calculation suggests that in the last five years, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about 1 in 20 million, meaning you are four times more likely to be struck by lightning.
The following ratios were compiled using data from 2004 National Safety Council Estimates, a report based on data from The National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, 2003 mortality data from the Center for Disease Control was used.4
- You are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack
- You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack
- You are 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane
- You are 1048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack
- You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack
- You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack
- You are 13 times more likely to die in a railway accident than from a terrorist attack
- You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in bed than from a terrorist attack
- You are 9 times more likely to choke to death on your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack
- You are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist
- You are 8 times more likely to die from accidental electrocution than from a terrorist attack
- You are 6 times more likely to die from hot weather than from a terrorist attack
My seemingly irrational fear of Cops is not so irrational at all… In fact it is extremely justified. There is no reason on Earth for me to fear those employed to protect and serve… Yet, I am 8 times more likely to be killed by a Police Officer than a terrorist. That is truly an appalling statistic.
In the decade-long War in Afghanistan, US military intervention has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians directly from insurgent and foreign military action, as well as the deaths of possibly tens of thousands of Afghan civilians indirectly as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, crime and lawlessness resulting from the war.3
The Project on Defense Alternatives estimated that in a 3-month period between October 7, 2001 and January 1, 2002, at least 1,000-1,300 civilians were directly killed by the U.S.-led aerial bombing campaign1, and that by mid-January 2002, at least 3,200 more Afghans had died of “starvation, exposure, associated illnesses, or injury sustained while in flight from war zones”, as a result of the U.S. war and airstrikes.2
When we compare the casualties of Afghan civilians with those American lives lost at the hands of terrorists, we come to a stark realization: We are the ones with a true agenda of terror. We are the oppressor, the fundamentalist, the true radical. We have justified the invasion and exploitation of several Middle-Eastern nations on the basis of “National Security”.
It is now widely accepted that the Iraq war was actually about oil. Former CIA director George Tenet said that the Bush administration wanted to invade Iraq prior to 9/11, and was willing to “mischaracterize complex intelligence information” to sure up its public justifications for invading Iraq.5 This claim is supported by former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, who sat on the National Security Council, when he told CBS News’ 60 Minutes that the Bush administration began planning to use U.S. troops to invade Iraq within days after the former Texas governor entered the White House.6
Likewise, the Afghanistan war was planned before 9/11, just as the Patriot Act was written years before those horrible events on September 11th, just sitting on a politician’s desk, awaiting a catalyst.8 What began with the Bush administration has continued in Obama’s as we continue to erode our civil liberties at home and oppress and control abroad, propping up and toppling over various puppet regimes… All for oil.12
Peace Soldiers by Banksy
What we are really doing is enforcing the will of a conglomerate of bankers who perpetuate an ongoing, ever deepening lie: the US dollar. Our money is backed not by gold, but by promises. In order to maintain its value and prevent economic collapse, we send out our enforcers to acquire and protect natural resources abroad. These resources are ours by right of conquest. Manifest destiny taken to an extreme.
The War on Drugs increases the danger to innocent people (including law enforcement personnel), where drug legalization would allow harm to naturally concentrate on the people who choose unwisely to use drugs. In much the same way, our War on Terror is bringing more of our soldiers into harms way. We are going out of our way to impose our will on an entire people, expecting them to surrender willingly the lands of their ancestors to satisfy our demand for oil to run our mighty engine of war. When we send our troops into areas where they are, by and large, unwelcome and feared, can we really be surprised when they come home with grievous injuries or worse, in caskets?
The war on terror might well be the largest undertaking in brainwashing; a massive multifaceted propaganda campaign aimed at molding a compliant, docile American populous. Those perpetrating terror are on Wall Street, behind large desks, protected by private security details. They influence much of the government, dictating an increasingly militaristic, corporate agenda at home and abroad.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
He called it the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces. The United States government has been hijacked from the American people by powerful oligarchical forces. A permanent ruling class, encompassing the Pentagon and its corporate suppliers, who manipulate government, even during times of peace (few though they are). These faceless men manipulate through fear, using terrorism as a scapegoat to justify continuing a regime of oppression and military expansion.
Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death.
Fear is a state of mind, and we will ultimately vanquish terrorism when we refuse to be terrorized by fundamentalists abroad and within our own governing body.
1. Project on Defense Alternatives, Operation Enduring Freedom: Why a Higher Rate of Civilian Bombing Casualties
2. Project on Defense Alternatives, Strange Victory: A critical appraisal of Operation Enduring Freedom and the Afghanistan war
3. Wikipedia, Civilian casualties in the War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
4. Reason.com, How Scared of Terrorism Should You Be?
5. The Washington Post, Tenet Details Efforts to Justify Invading Iraq
6. CNN, O’Neill: Bush planned Iraq invasion before 9/11
7. BBC, US ‘planned attack on Taleban’
8. Politico, Ron Paul: ‘Glee’ in administration after 9/11
9. MSNBC, U.S. sought attack on al-Qaida
10. Neil Mackay, Sunday Herald, The West’s Battle for Oil
11. AOL News, Rumsfeld Files Reveal Pre-9/11 Focus on Iraq
12. Washington’s Blog, Neoconservatives Planned Regime Change Throughout the Middle East and North Africa 20 Years Ago