Saturday, January 2, 2010

Scary Stuff

People In Power Love To Keep You Afraid
Are you worried about being killed in a terrorist attack? If it wasn't for instant television coverage you would sleep more peacefully.

As we start this new year the U.S. media is in a frenzy of coverage of the "under pants" bomber. 24/7 we are following the developments of an 'attempted attack' on Americans on American soil. Who knew what when, which agency is responsible for the breach of our national security. The president giving a speech from the 'western white house'. The reality? Nothing happened. Nothing. Obviously the man who attempted this crime is not right in the head. He is a nut case. His dad has described him as such. His father called the embassy in Nigeria and told them that his son was threatening the U.S. and "talking crazy". Now we all will suffer every time we board a plane because some mentally ill person tried to blow up his underwear.

Let's have a look at some figures (rounded).

The start of the "War on Terrorism", which sustained the Bush Administration in power, occurred after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York which killed 3000. I, like millions of others, watched in disbelief, as it happened. The shock was the greatest in the United States, which had passed through two world wars without an attack on its mainland. Then we had the Bali bombing in 2002, which killed 200, and the Madrid attack in 2004, another 200, and London in 2005, 50. But to put these attacks in proportion, look at the traffic accident deaths. In the US in 2001 40,000 died. In Spain in 2004, 5000 died.

The number killed in terrorist attacks is really very low. We are not talking about deaths on the scale of the Second World War like Hiroshima or Nagasaki, Dresden or Hamburg, London or Coventry, or for that matter the very first deliberate bombing of defenceless civilians in modern times in Guernica. There were no television cameras watching the beautiful city of Dresden being destroyed, nor were there cameras present to tour the devastated ruins of Hiroshima the day after the atomic bomb fell. We are not even talking about the first "television" war, which was Vietnam. There the United States lost 58,000 soldiers, and the Vietnamese lost around two million citizens, mostly non-combatants.

The response of the United States and its allies in attacking Afghanistan in reply to the terrorist attack on New York was entirely justified, and approved by the United Nations. However the Bush Administration, instead of finishing this war with a complete victory, which was possible then, went marching off to a new war in Iraq, based on totally false intelligence. There were no weapons of mass destruction, nor any link to Al Queda.

So don't worry, if you don't live in Iraq, you are very unlikely to be killed by terrorists. The most dangerous place in the world for most of us is behind the wheel of the family car.

Terrorism cannot win. To win, first you must occupy territory. There will be no Al Queda troops marching through the streets of the European capitals. The ayatollahs will not be running the US Supreme Court. Remember the Bahder Meinhof group and the Red Brigades? They have been relegated to a few foot notes in the history books and are being followed by the IRA and ETA. Al Queda will eventually follow them as well, sooner or later.

It would be much sooner if it were not for the debacle of Iraq and now the escalation in Afghanistan.

I think the people in power like to keep us scared. Why? Then we are not so likely to focus on the things that matter, the things that are really happening within the corridors of power. It is much easier to pick someones pocket if they are distracted by something...

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