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Dec 02 2013

After all that, we are not safer today

The Wall Street Journal has an article quoting key lawmakers who are members of the congressional intelligence committees, the very bodies who are supposedly secretly briefed on all the government’s activities, saying that the people of the US are even less safe now than they were before 9/11.

Americans shouldn’t feel safer today than they did before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the leaders of the Senate and House intelligence committees said Sunday.

The country now faces a larger number of threats from splintered terrorist groups and more complex weapons than when the U.S. began combat operations in Afghanistan in 2001, the lawmakers said on CNN’s State of the Union. At the same time, the nation’s spy programs–which can help foil terrorist plots–are under heavy scrutiny that could ultimately lessen their effectiveness.

“The threat is higher today and we’re probably less safe,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said.

Of course, they are using this to argue that the recent efforts to curb in the NSA and other government spying in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations are a bad thing. They want more unfettered government snooping.

But the alternative case can also be made that the so-called ‘war on terror’ has been a colossal failure and that the massive expenditure by the government on anti-terrorist activities, all the wars with their massive death and destruction, all the violations of people’s privacy rights, all the human rights violations around the world, have failed in their stated goal of ‘making us safer’. So the conclusion of our worthy legislators: We need to do more of the same!

Of course, many people warned that this would be precisely the outcome, that making more enemies in the world by throwing our weight around hardly seemed like a good strategy.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    Crimson Clupeidae

    Amusingly, they say exactly what many of us have been saying, but come to the opposite conclusion.

    Note: You’ve got a borked quote tag in your post, I believe.

  2. 2
    sailor1031

    What was that quote about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

  3. 3
    Trebuchet

    In particular, we are significantly less safe from the police and other government agencies. Take the TSA. Please.

  4. 4
    lochaber

    I can’t remember where I seen it, but I think someone (Schneier (sp?) maybe?) piled up a bunch of statistics showing more people were avoiding flight due to hassles with the TSA, and driving instead, thus raising the number of people killed in auto accidents every year.

    Remember folks, home of the brave, and all that…

  5. 5
    Brandon

    I’m blown away that they see massive expenditures, erosion of privacy, and senseless creation of newer and bigger agencies and think, “well, if that didn’t make us safer, what we need is more money, less privacy, and more agencies”. That’s… well, it’s an odd conclusion.

  6. 6
    Marcus Ranum

    The country now faces a larger number of threats from splintered terrorist groups and more complex weapons than when the U.S. began combat operations in Afghanistan in 2001

    By golly, evolution works!

  7. 7
    sigurd jorsalfar

    So in other words, the war on terror has worked according to plan.

  8. 8
    Marshall

    I’m logically a bit torn on this.

    If it is true that this is a game of cat and mouse, then what we’re looking at is the gap between the terrorists’s capabilities of inflicting destruction, and our abilities to deter such acts.

    It may be true that we have increased our abilities, but the terrorists have increased theirs faster. If this is the case, then scaling back our defenses will only widen the gap, and really hurt us.

    Alternatively, it may be that the terrorists respond to our increased abilities, in which case we are wasting money at the expense of our freedom.

  9. 9
    colnago80

    Albert Einstein: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

  10. 10
    colnago80

    Like our distinguished host.

    http://goo.gl/0LTtjH

  11. 11
    lanir

    Agreed… Hardline policies, removing diplomacy as an option, and throwing obscene amounts of money at creating a whole new infrastructure of secretive operations that do not need to be justified to anyone because they even have their own shadow government and shadow court to answer to leads to hardline policies, no diplomacy and secretive groups who have nothing to gain from taking any other action than whatever they possibly can do to harm us.

    What do you think a drone launched bomb looks like to a civilian in those areas our government conducts such activities? Or kidnapping people and holding them in other countries to further an agenda? Why, I bet it looks just like terrorism.

    That’s right, our magic solution to the problem is to become the problem. Brilliant.

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