After We're done defining terrorism (that's the big We, not us) we can ask, "Are the Terrorists Winning?"
If winning means achieving goals then we must look at the goals of terrorists, both long and short range. If they look way into the future they may see a Shariah governed paradise where all live in a special 'harmony.' Another group might envision a hegemony of drug-militia-lorded nations.
The shorter view might be to destabilize and weaken governments they view as antagonistic to their goals. For the violent Islamists, for al Qaeda and their ilk, that would be all governments today, so they have a rich field of targets.
Degrading economies is one form of weakening. Forcing the Rule of Law to turn away from the protection of human rights is another. And let's not forget the 'free press' considered vital and protected by the Constitution of the United States of America. The writings of Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al Zarqawi gloat about how they have achieved goals in all three areas.
Mexico's recent turmoil has turned their press away from the kinds of coverage that enhance Democracy into a more tabloid machine. While they are reporting more about the carnage of the drug-terrorists, they have all but eliminated the naming of the names that is so important in reportage. For example, the gun battle at Torreon's soccer stadium was reported by El Sigle de Torreon only after much debate, and then run without reference to the drug gangs involved. The editor said they were worried "they might become a target" [of the drug terrorists involved in the shooting] if they made any more of it.
The U.S. slide into curtailing human rights at home and internationally is well documented. Right to Privacy laws have been diluted to a ridiculous point. We hold prisoners indefinitely without chargesThe insurgents are certainly imposing a large monetary cost on their targets. We're not talking about guys with meat cleavers attacking a hotel in Tunisia, that serves liquor, yelling, "Allahu Akbar." The windows, chairs, and bottles of booze can be replaced at modest cost. We are referring to the billions being spent in defensive reactions to organized terror.
Israel's Dome rocket estimated to cost at least $60,000 each. The initial cost for purchasing and installing the system was around US$560 million, with another $150 million projected for expansion. The November 2012 missile bout with Hamas used 389 missiles. That's an expenditure of about 23 million dollars. This isn't chump change. And even if the U.S. pays a large chunk of these expenses it still affects the bottom line.
Here in the U.S. we've gone a bit berserk. Airport screening costs taxpayers $6-8 billion a year in federal taxes and air fees. It is estimated that extra police presence at airports add another billion dollars of local taxes. The Department of Homeland Security's Fusion Center program has cost about $1.4 billion without any discernible positive result. A senate report says the centers delivered "no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution...made to disrupt an active terrorist plot." That sure smells like success to us.
Local police forces have also spent enormous amounts of money to deter attacks.
Are 'they' winning? Certainly not the long game. Terrorist organizations don't have a chance of realizing their large dreams. They are too few in number and have alienated such a large portion of their intended constituents that they could never build the world they desire. On the other hand they are doing a fine job of weakening governments, destabilizing nations, and costing all of us an awful lot of cash.
December 16, 2012 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact