Monday, September 05, 2011

the decade's biggest scam

commondreams | The Los Angeles Times examines the staggering sums of money expended on patently absurd domestic "homeland security" projects: $75 billion per year for things such as a Zodiac boat with side-scan sonar to respond to a potential attack on a lake in tiny Keith County, Nebraska, and hundreds of "9-ton BearCat armored vehicles, complete with turret" to guard against things like an attack on DreamWorks in Los Angeles. All of that -- which is independent of the exponentially greater sums spent on foreign wars, occupations, bombings, and the vast array of weaponry and private contractors to support it all -- is in response to this mammoth, existential, the-single-greatest-challenge-of-our-generation threat: ["The key to sustaining this Security State bonanza," writes Greenwald, "is keeping fear levels among the citizenry as high as possible... and that is accomplished by fixating even on minor and failed attacks, each one of which is immediately seized upon to justify greater expenditures, expansion of security measures, and a further erosion of rights." (Wikipedia)] "The key to sustaining this Security State bonanza," writes Greenwald, "is keeping fear levels among the citizenry as high as possible... and that is accomplished by fixating even on minor and failed attacks, each one of which is immediately seized upon to justify greater expenditures, expansion of security measures, and a further erosion of rights." (Wikipedia)

"The number of people worldwide who are killed by Muslim-type terrorists, Al Qaeda wannabes, is maybe a few hundred outside of war zones. It's basically the same number of people who die drowning in the bathtub each year," said John Mueller, an Ohio State University professor who has written extensively about the balance between threat and expenditures in fighting terrorism.

Last year, McClatchy characterized this threat in similar terms: "undoubtedly more American citizens died overseas from traffic accidents or intestinal illnesses than from terrorism." The March, 2011, Harper's Index expressed the point this way: "Number of American civilians who died worldwide in terrorist attacks last year: 8 -- Minimum number who died after being struck by lightning: 29." That's the threat in the name of which a vast domestic Security State is constructed, wars and other attacks are and continue to be launched, and trillions of dollars are transferred to the private security and defense contracting industry at exactly the time that Americans -- even as they face massive wealth inequality -- are told that they must sacrifice basic economic security because of budgetary constraints.

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