While Newsweek questions whether we’ve overreacted to 9/11, Politico quotes Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, as saying, “We can’t guarantee there won’t be another successful terrorist attack.” The Huffington Post also reports that the U.S. government has ignored homegrown terrorism, despite the $75 billion we’ve spent on security. The question stands: Are we safe or not?
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means for coercion. This definition seems universal and exoteric enough, but it doesn’t tell us who is most likely to be a terrorist or for what reasons. Its ambiguity gives everyone the benefit of the doubt.
It is as if to say, “Yes, you too can be a terrorist.” Soccer moms, Boy Scouts, dentists, doctors, nuns, your grandmother — anyone can be a terrorist, not just those that are darker skinned or study the Quran.
If the U.S. Government had picked up a dictionary and re-read the terms of terrorism sometime this year they might not have been so steadfast in spending $75 billion towards security from foreign terrorist attacks.
The Washington Post reported that “The U.S. government has created or reconfigured at least 263 organizations to tackle some aspect of the war on terror,” but as the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Preparedness Group reports in the Huffington Post, “there is still no federal agency specifically charged with identifying radicalization or working to prevent terrorist recruitment of U.S. citizens and residents.”
What does this mean for us? While we slip further into recession and debt, lots and lots of our money is going towards an issue that, while legitimate, is being usurped by our own domestic acts of terror. These would include the 2009 “Christmas bomber,” the Fort Hood shooting and last May’s attempted car bomb in Times Square.
The former heads of the September 11 Commission report that the U.S. “was slow to take seriously the threat posed by homegrown radicals.” This would include, for instance, the “Somali-American youths traveling from Minnesota to Mogadishu in 2008 to join extremists.”
That was not an isolated issue, but rather just one incident of homegrown terrorism undermined by U.S. intelligence according to the Sep. 11 Commission’s report. The reason is so utterly esoteric and ignorant that it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that the government assumed America was founded on principles of snuggling rather than political persecution.
The report states that “The U.S. believed that its melting pot of nationalities and religions would protect it from internal radical strife,” according to the Huffington Post.
So while the Department of Homeland Security has been looking the other way, building it’s $3.4 billion site, the biggest government site to be built in 50 years, to house 230,000 employees, we have been essentially cheated on by our American-born brand of terrorists.
These terrorists, by fortune of their citizenship, are overlooked.
But thanks to the 13 murdered soldiers at Fort Hood, passengers of Northwest Airlines flight 253 and, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, evolving threats from al Qaeda, we’ve become slightly more self-aware.
Self-aware enough to be promised protection? Well, despite the near 30,000 people employed to listen in on phone conversations happening in the United States, the 33 new building complexes made specifically for intelligence bureaucracies or the 51 different bureaucracies tracking monetary exchanges from terrorist organizations, Napolitano claims that we can’t be guaranteed “there won’t be another successful terrorist attack.”
Secretary Napolitano offers something beyond expensive fiscal measures to protect the nation though, something to curtail her lack of assuredness: It’s our intrinsic, patriotic, pack-mentality.
She states, “But if that attack comes, our enemies will still not have succeeded, because our nation is too strong, and too resilient, to ever cower before a small group of violent extremists.”
Unfortunately, the group of extremists are popping up at home. And our government and evangelical religious groups have gone to such length to produce a useless U.S. schema: Terrorists are bearded Arabs from the Middle East.
So here we are at the crossroads of confrontation and denial; We’ve spent billions of dollars to protect ourselves from a globally pervasive evil and the question remains, has it even worked? Did it ever?
Our government seems to be afraid of the answer, and the only one speaking up is Napolitano to say, fuck if it doesn’t work we’ve still got our spirit!
Hey, money can’t buy everything right?