Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 407, February 25, 2007

"...Nihilistic self-righteous devotees of the Great Penguin."


The Terrorist Threat Is Grossly Overblown
by Doug Newman

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

In response to a recent piece I wrote regarding the decline and fall of the American Empire, CL writes:

"Commentators keep complaining about our 'empire'. I don't pay too much attention to the word empire, but rather watch what is actually happening. I think it's very appropriate we fight vigorously against Islam today just as we did the evil that came from Germany and Japan in the past. There is really no difference in these expressions of evil -- different names I guess, but that's about all."

I replied:

The differences between Islam since 2000 and Japan and Germany in the 1930s and 1940s are huge. Let me explain.

To be sure, Islam is evil. I have heard Islam described as "Communism masquerading as religion." Mosque and state are one and they demand total control over the lives of their subjects. Islam rules by the sword and wins converts by the sword. Wherever Muslims get the upper hand, death and devastation follow. Contrary to the words of our theologian-in-chief, Islam is not "a religion of peace" and Christians and Muslims do not "worship the same god."

However, there are key differences between Islam and the fascism of the Germans and the Japanese. Foremost among them is that Islam has no center of power. It has no Tokyo, Berlin or, for that matter, Moscow. As a religion, it has no Vatican. There is no Fuhrer or Duce dispatching the armies of Islam on missions of conquest.

9/11 was an attack, not an invasion. There were no ships from the Navy of Islam waiting in New York Harbor or Chesapeake Bay to provide backup to the terrorists. No aerial bombing raids followed. No Islamic marines laid waste to New York or Washington.

9/11 was a one-time event. (1) There have been no terrorist attacks on American soil since. We do not have thousands of terrorists in our midst. There are all kinds of things terrorists could have done in the five-plus years since 9/11 that they have not done. Widespread suicide bombings and school shootings come to mind. Anyone serious about planning them could have done so while evading the notice of authorities.

I know, I know. The 18-year-old punkazoid who shot and killed five people in that Salt Lake City mall last week was a Bosnian Muslim. Some called this an act of terrorism. However, Uncle Sam's post-9/11 expanded police state powers did not stop this. Moreover, this was the act of a lone malcontent, and not part of a larger plan to "take away our freedom and undermine our very way of life."

While terrorists wreak enormous damage to make their points, they do not intend to take over our government and our country. The 9/11 terrorists had no political wing in their movement scheming to take over our FEDGOV; the London bus bombers had no political sidekicks intent on taking over the British government; the Madrid subway bombers had no intention of taking over the Spanish government.

Not only is Islam highly decentralized, but Islamic governments do not have the money to pose any kind of imperialist threat. I did an informal study of GDP and military expenditures which yielded some fascinating results. I took numbers from 17 Arab countries, as well as Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and the four countries with the largest Muslim populations -- Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India -- and found the following:

  • Their GDPs combined equal 21 percent of the United States GDP.

  • Their military expenditures combined equal 26 percent of the United States military budget.

The idea that Osama bin Laden is going to take over the world is absurd. He has not even taken over Afghanistan. Afghanistan has a GDP of $6 billion, about one-quarter that of the state of Vermont. He holds no office and commands no armies. He has, perhaps, 10,000 followers. While al-Qaeda can do all manner of nasty things, they simply are no threat to take over the world. They are criminals, not imperialists.

Saddam never posed any kind of threat to the United States. Iraq had one percent of our economy and less than one percent of our military budget. No one ever found the purported weapons of mass destruction. In 1990, Iraq invaded a sandbox called Kuwait, which is as large as New Jersey. Iraq had no navy or air force to speak of. In the 12 years between Desert Storm and the Iraq War, American planes flew thousands of missions over Iraq. Iraq did not even shoot down a single American airplane.

To call Iraq an "Islamofascist" state is a misnomer. Saddam's regime, while undoubtedly evil, was a secular regime. Iraqi Christians enjoyed a greater measure of religious freedom than most Christians in the Arab world. There were probably 40 dictators in the world worse than Saddam.

When America invaded Iraq in March 2003, we invaded a country that had done nothing to us and which Dubya himself admits had no connection with the 9/11 attacks. We have been fighting this war longer than we fought World War II. The troops will not be coming home any time soon. On the low end, tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died as a result of this invasion.

Millions of professing Christians hail this shedding of innocent blood. God hates this. (Proverbs 6:17) I know a lot of these people think we have good intentions and seek good ends in Iraq. However, Scripture condemns doing evil even if good is intended. (Romans 3:5-8)

Islam has been around since about the year 610. While it has an extremely bloody history, it is simply no threat to take over the world.

Terrorism has been around since at least the French Revolution in 1789. It is not an ideology of government, but a tactic for venting political grievances. Rather than being a form of imperialism, it is a means of protest against imperialism.

The terrorists do not "hate us for our freedom." Rather, they hate us for our incessant meddling in the Middle East. If you whack a hornets' nest with a baseball bat, prepare to be stung. And if you whack it repeatedly, do not be surprised when you are stung repeatedly. You reap what you sow, and if you live by the sword you die by the sword.

I leave you with two quotes. The first is from Pat Buchanan:

"The dynamiting of the King David Hotel convinced the British to accelerate their departure from Palestine. Zionist terror ended. Mau Mau terror ended when the Brits left Kenya. When DeGaulle cut Algeria loose, FLN terror ended. When Reagan withdrew his Marines from Beirut, anti-American terror ended in Lebanon.

"Lesson? The price of empire is terror. The price of occupation is terror. The price of interventionism is terror."

Finally, the War on Terror, along with the acceptance by so many Americans of a police state in response to 9/11 brings to mind a quote by H.L. Mencken:

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and thus clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

The left has the hobgoblin of global warming. The right has the hobgoblin of global terror. Both campaigns are carefully calculated to keep the American people alarmed and clamorous for a the state to come to the rescue.


(1) For the record, I am one of those 9/11 "truthers". I do not buy the official story on 9/11. However, even if you frame this in the government's terms, you still realize that their contentions about the threat of terrorism are absurd.

If you have a web page and would like to link to this or post this, please let me know and include my e-mail and this URL.


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