A Decade of Fear and Paranoia.

As the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 approached, the television networks were filled with programs about the event. The best was MSNBC’s special Day of Destruction: Decade of War, Part I with Rachel Maddow and Peter Engel. It presented stories and facts that were both enlightening and frightening.

For example, since 9/11 we have:

– Created Homeland Security, the third largest bureacracy in Washington, DC.
– Created the Transportation Security Administration, an $8.1 billion agency with more than 45,000 employees.
– Created enough office space for security, intelligence and counter-terrorism personnel to fill 22 US Capitols.
– Expanded military bases all over central Asia.
– Doubled our defense budget.
– Deployed more than 2 million coalition troops to Afghanistan and Iraq where more than 4,600 US troops have been killed and nearly 33,000 wounded.
– Turned much of our military over to mercenaries and private contractors.
– Militarized our police forces as never before.
– Created the “Patriot” Act which has allowed our government to suspend many of the provisions of the 4th Amendment to our Constitution and permits the police and military to intrude in our lives as never before.
– Intentionally fomented fear and paranoia among Americans for partisan political reasons.

During the past 10 years we have spent more than $1 trillion on defense and security; money that could have been used to rebuild our decaying infrastructure, to improve the  quality of life for our citizens or to reduce our national debt. We have learned that $60 billion of taxpayer money has gone unaccounted for in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade. And, not surprisingly, we have learned that the US will abandon billions of dollars worth of equipment and military bases when we finally leave Iraq.

Has it been worthwhile?

Each person is likely to have a different answer to that question. But my own answer is a resounding NO! Actually, it’s HELL NO! Especially upon reflection that all of this is the result of 19 terrorists, many of whom were on no-fly lists, boarding airplanes with $5 box-cutters. The only attacks on US soil since 9/11 have come from the gang who couldn’t shoot straight; people who failed at attempts to explode an SUV, a shoe, and underwear!

Since 9/11, the US has dramatically changed for the worse.  And most of the damage has been self-inflicted.