Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Investing in terror is best return on the dollar

Post by Brian O'Neill on May 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm with 10 Comments »
May 7, 2011 3:30 pm

Thanks to the Navy Seals and our intel community, Osama Bin Laden is part of the food chain for ocean floor bottom feeders. We are collectively taking a deep breath and wondering how soon we can finally close the book on the War on Terror we have been waging for almost ten years. Not surprisingly, this has led to a good deal of reflection on the ultimate costs we have paid thus far.

We have lost much. There can be no replacement for the thousands of American lives lost, nor the civil liberties we have sacrificed at the altar of national security. It has scarred our collective psyche and immured an entire generation in the ravages of war.

In addition there is  the cost in actual dollars and cents, the  one currency both sides of this war must spend. Jihad costs money. Protecting against terror attacks costs money, too. A lot of money.

Let’s review the books. Easily obtainable online estimates suggest well over one trillion dollars has been spent on the military operations waged subsequent to Bin Laden’s successful attack on September 11, 2001. Added to that are the security enhancements to our travel system, equipment personnel and incarceration costs for our federal law enforcement efforts, and small but costly covert operations, which all have price tags in the billions.  In short, we have spent a staggering amount of money–easily equivalent to the entire national debt circa 1984–on defeating a few thousand, loosely banded, dangerous fanatics.How are we doing so far? Checking in with our military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can see that we are still hard at work, still taking losses, and still wondering what the final outcome will look like.

Meanwhile, back in the account ledger, we also note that we are experiencing a federal budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion, a price tag shockingly close to our current expenditures on the entire anti-terror program. This comes at a time in our nation’s financial history that has sunk to a level of misery unsurpassed in almost 80 years.

Now let’s take a look at the accounts payable on the terrorists’ books. A quick sketch of the operations that put these wackos on the map include the first World Trade Center bombing (1993), Kenya and Tanzania Embassy bombings (1998), U.S.S. Cole attack (2000), Riyadh compound bombing (2003), and the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers (2001).

According to one intelligence source, the FBI’s best approximattion of the cost of mounting the attack on the Twin Towers was in the neighborhood of $400,000. The estimated cost of each of the other operations did not exceed $50,000, while a few required less than five thousand dollars. Rounding up this sum to the nearest million is quite simple: one million, to be precise.

By the sketchy math of an English major, our country has spent $1,500,000 for every dollar spent by the terrorists. By acknowledging this fact, and taking into account the human cost of this current financial mess, we are left with yet another awful truth. All of the money spent towards protecting ourselves has actually placed our country in a very unstable position in the global economy. The terrorists know this better than we do.

When it comes to a lengthy, protracted and exhorbitantly expensive campaign, we need to acknowledge that there may only be one way to win the war on terror–but there’s lots of ways to lose.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. Great letter: The first thing we need to do now is to solve the Israeli / Palestinian issue. We have brave soldiers but cowardly politicians, so sadly I’m not very optimistic it’ll happen

  2. smokey984 says:

    Random thoughts of a VERY COMPLEX issue.
    – We were just the first Industrialized nation to be preemptive in securing/influencing 60 percent of the remaining supply of recoverable light sweet crude oil. The bad guys, by 9/11 standards, gave us the justification to go in. This school of thought comes from the Alex Jones, conspiracy theorists crowds, on the whole false flag event scenario.
    – We passed Peak Oil in 2005 to which the world is on a permanent decline at about 4 percent less production yearly here on out. My grandpa rode a camel, my dad drove a car, i fly a plane, my son will drive a car, my grandson will ride a camel philosophy.
    – Yes its costly, yes its bleeding our economic power with one cut at a time. These camel jockeys are a lot smarter than we give them credit for.
    – Our counter-terror strategy has to be lucky ALL the time, they only have to be lucky once. Hence the HUGE difference in the dollar spent category.
    – This war will continue for at least another 40 wit once the middle east runs dry of the oil we use the troops come home. Lets face the truth, would we really be here if they didn’t have oil? Theres genoside in several countries around the world, do we put troops there to stop it? No because they haven’t any natural resources we need to run our nanny state…
    – Its been an east VS west thing for 2500 hundred years. Gates of fire book, movie 300? Our species 4 1/2 million years into evolution and yet we still fight amongst each other..
    – Build a great china wall along the southern border, bring the troops home and simply just outbid other nations and buy the oil?
    – Rebuild our railroads and seaports, thats the future of transportation..Only the rich will drive and fly in our future.
    – Do we really wanna win the WOT? The military industrial complex is making a killing of profits at the expense of a 19 year old with 75 pounds of battle rattle.
    Please excuse my ignorance of the subject…Between a high school education and finishing my 6th combat deployment in 8 days i can be rather biased…

  3. smokey984 says it all. Yes it is all about money and oil. My question to smokey is sincere. If you really believe it is about oil and money, why do you remain in the military? It can’t be about patriotism, not if our wars are about oil and money that fattens the pockets of the rich and imperils your family. Few if any of our politicians have family in combat roles. Yet they are the only ones ( with pressure from the electorate ) that can bring you and the rest of our troops home. I hope your next 8 days go well. And then for years later.

  4. smokey984 says:

    Ipsut great questions to i have the last 7 years or so. Ive been in 19 years, so my joining to serve was prior to knowing the truth. And my decision to finish after coming to light has been a hard one. I think at the end of the day the decision to stay was a shared suffering and willing to serve the man next to me. I simply cannot walk away from a man going down range to put his life on the line and maintain a clear concise. If you have ever watched the movie Black Hawk Down, the Delta Soldier, HOOT, probably sum’s it up best why we serve regardless of the reasons why were there in the first place. Trust me, no one wants our military to come home more than I or those of us over here serving a FLAWED policy.

    And im simply not smart enough to solve the problems Brian brings up with this particular blog entry…

  5. Good luck to you Smokey984, it looks to me like you have a year to go. Hopefully you’ll not be sent for a 7th combat tour. Thanks for your comment, maybe some young citizen that has been thinking of enlisting will read this and allow himself further time to consider his or her decision.

  6. smokey984 says:


  7. smokey984 says:

    And as Brian wrote:
    (By the sketchy math of an English major, our country has spent $1,500,000 for every dollar spent by the terrorists. By acknowledging this fact, and taking into account the human cost of this current financial mess, we are left with yet another awful truth. All of the money spent towards protecting ourselves has actually placed our country in a very unstable position in the global economy. The terrorists know this better than we do.)

    It would appear as though were walking right into their trap…So much so, that sooner or later the general populace will become so frustrated with the current political incompetence it may lead, and i pray it wont, to the second American revolution…

  8. Smokey984: Yes, Binladin had a stated goal that he’d like to bankrupt us. Our leaders of both parties have been helping him with his objective ( with the support of an uncaring, uninvolved public. ) Blind patriotism is very destructive, true patriotism demands speaking out when wrongs are committed. Sadly few here in the States are able to gather the interest to stay informed or think logically about our 3 wars of choice. They complain of $4 dollar gas, but think nothing of spending a trillion bucks on wars that make us less safe.

  9. smokey984 says:
  10. pfletch says:

    Double that Amen!!!

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