The Puny ‘Terrorist Threat’ And Our Rulers’ Best Efforts to Keep You Scared

John Glaser, October 29, 2012

The New York Times this past weekend published a rather remarkable article talking openly about some basic facts that it typically ignores completely: (1) al-Qaeda is primarily motivated by America’s “unqualified support for Israel and the rulers of the Persian Gulf states,” as well as US militarism in the region, (2) al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist threats are not nearly as big a danger as Washington would have us believe.

While “jihadists of various kinds,” the article says, “are flourishing in Africa and the Middle East,” Americans are notably misled regarding the actual threat they pose.

…most of the newer jihadist groups have local agendas, and very few aspire to strike directly at the United States as Osama bin Laden’s core network did. They may interfere with American interests around the world — as in Syria, where the presence of militant Islamists among the rebels fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad has inhibited American efforts to support the uprising. But that is a far cry from terrorist plots aimed at the United States itself.

A far cry, indeed. But the US has that bad habit of declaring the world it’s own backyard. One group’s local agenda is another American imperialist’s threat to the homeland.

Importantly, the article says that unfortunately, “most of the political realities that inspired Bin Laden’s organization are still in place,” like unqualified support for Israel, propping up Arab dictatorships, and bombing various countries in the region on a near daily basis. That doesn’t bode well for anybody, as I’ve talked about at length.

Even on the margins, the US seems intent on stoking its own threats. The article mentions Boko Haram, an Islamist group in Nigeria that has an agenda for Nigeria and Nigeria alone. Does anybody think it helps that, for example, a congressional report last year insisted on building up Nigerian security forces and essentially starting a proxy war with Boko Haram? “While I recognize there is little evidence at this moment to suggest Boko Haram is planning attacks against the [US] homeland, lack of evidence does not mean it cannot happen,” Patrick Meehan, the chairman of the committee that drew up the report was quoted as saying.

It reminds me of this Washington Post article last year that said even as the Obama administration bombs Somalia, emphasizing the threat posed by al-Shabab, officials were concerned “that a broader [drone] campaign could turn al-Shabab from a regional menace into an adversary determined to carry out attacks on US soil.” Brilliant.

But even despite America’s stubborn insistence on a stupid, overly interventionist foreign policy that creates more enemies than it eliminates, the “terrorist threat” is small and getting smaller.

The National Counterterrorism Center’s annual report for 2011 said about 10,000 acts of violence occurred in 2011 that the government classifies as terrorism, killing about 13,000 people total. Zero terrorist attacks occurred in the US and three-quarters of the fatalities were in just four countries, which happen to be virtual war zones: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Somalia.

Incidentally, those all happen to be countries in which US foreign policy has been excessively interventionist and brutal and which only became hot-spots of “terrorism” following US wars or proxy wars.

The report says, out of about 13,000 people, only 17 American citizens were killed in terrorist incidents last year: 15 in Afghanistan, one in Jerusalem, and one in Iraq. Even counting all 17 US deaths by terrorism last year, that amounts to .001% of Americans died from government-designated terrorism last year.

Compare that with the amount of time and resources allocated to address this overwhelming terrorist threat.

“Warnings about a dangerous world,” writes Micah Zenko in Foreign Affairs, “benefit powerful bureaucratic interests. The specter of looming dangers sustains and justifies the massive budgets of the military and the intelligence agencies, along with the national security infrastructure that exists outside government — defense contractors, lobbying groups, think tanks, and academic departments.”




67 Responses to “The Puny ‘Terrorist Threat’ And Our Rulers’ Best Efforts to Keep You Scared”

  1. <<as in Syria, where the presence of militant Islamists among the rebels fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad has inhibited American efforts to support the uprising>> So basically NYT is saying that if it wasn't for the meme : Islam =evil, we would be at third base by now.

  2. Even on the margins, the US seems intent on stoking its own threats…

    …“Warnings about a dangerous world,” writes Micah Zenko in Foreign Affairs, “benefit powerful bureaucratic interests. The specter of looming dangers sustains and justifies the massive budgets of the military and the intelligence agencies, along with the national security infrastructure that exists outside government — defense contractors, lobbying groups, think tanks, and academic departments.”

    And there you have it. One wonders when the sheepletard Amoricon majority will finally realize that their hatred and distrust of "towelheads," etc., is outweighed by the expensive, oppressive, and catastrophically inept Police State that is emerging here at home.

  3. I need to to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I have you book-marked to check out new things you post…

  4. [...] that go along with it. The current bogeyman of “Islamic terrorism” is an incredibly inflated threat, so big, bad China will replace it with fearmongering over currency manipulation and [...]

  5. i’m an american who agrees that none of these threats are urgent, and we should just end the wars and bring the troops home that simply. However I have real fears that the power elite would then orchestrate another false flag attack, spurring “told ya so” rhetoric. This would “prove” to most Americans that the threat was real, and we’d go right back to endless war.

    f-cking bastards…..

  6. I don’t really agree that you should ONLY focus on the positives. For sure, don’t get bogged down with the negatives all the time someone bad-mouthing the company does indeed bring morale down throughout the organisation however by the same token, you shouldn’t be unrealistically optimistic.

  7. You people have your head in the sand if you think there aren't people out there that would like to destroy AMERICA!!!!

  8. Seems like there is a threat around every corner, thanks for the post.

  9. Yes, they are in Washington DC, New York, Hollywood and Tel Aviv.

  10. I remember when the US tried to stoke fear about al-Shabab crossing into the US through Mexico to launch terrorist attacks. It turned out to be just one lone Somali.

  11. Hey Proud Amerikan you have your head in the sand if you think that those people who want to destroy America can actually do so. Hell, most of the people who really hate America do so because of people like you who approve of murdering their wives and children by cowards flying drones.

  12. Read "War Is A Racket" and you'll learn everything you need to know about why we do things the way we do when it comes to fighting 'wars'. Written in 1935 by Marine Major General Smedley Butler, it is just as relevant today as it was so long ago.

  13. Good article. The timing of this NYT report of a decreased threat of terrorism seems convenient ie when media takes a softer line on so called Al kidda threat or others designated as extremists, at a time when they are clearly useful tools to attack the independent regimes in Syria and Libya before?? IS the image and hyped up /perceived threat being rolled back to allow more hands on direct meddling in these nations affairs ie to facilitate ‘regime change’? Given the many reports of US/Eu/isrl/NATO giving aid, shelter and training to [proxy] rebel groups in Syria, many of whom have been identified as foreign [non syrian] extremists incl al kidda [ others have called those same rebels, mercenaries or even rent an arab/army] , the public has perhaps wondered at the strange bedfellows and why their bankers [ gulf regimes] are ‘our friends’? This more sober line may be a corrective/antidote to previous demonization of Islam/muslims, to allow a more direct/open hands on support for those foreign [sunni] mercenaries…

  14. Recall all the positive press on the brave mujahideen [ and Mr O Bin Ladin’s boys] in Afghanistan striving [jihad] against the wicked invading soviets ? the role of the same types in the former Yugoslavia and the Caucasus region . When those conflicts subsided, it became necessary or convenient by accident or design [ who knows] to cast them as major foes bent on nothing less than the destruction of the West and its civilised way of life….. With the Cold War over and the collapse of the Soviet Union etc , those loose groups remained useful/convenient pawns – this time as enemies and new bogeymen – who through a series of magnified incidents and exaggerations [ until 9/11] have come to replace the collapsed red menace as public enemy No1. A convenient enemy /justification for keeping the money rolling in for the military/industrial/security complex what ever you like to call it…..and sucking out all the resources from our societies…..

  15. As far as I can see, the efforts of the peoples of the ME who are genuinely striving for their rights and freedoms from oppression –whether domestic/ local or foreign, are spoiled by both the direct interference of the US et al and the insertion of those aligned with or claiming some affiliation to Al kidda and other like minded groups who happen to be Saudi/Gulf state bank rolled – and who are those feudal [ not democratic] regimes greatest friends and sponsors? The US for one…..all roads lead back to Rome/Washington.

  16. The majority of peoples of the ME have no interest in interfering in the affairs of other nations or harming them…. Most of the violence one sees in the ME- from Libya, to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, is reactionary ie to violent outside [ usually us/west] intervention and localised . Small violent trans national groups are assembled and moved about like pawns on a chessboard, but I think that most of those groups are mere tools used to further agendas rather different to what those small groups supposedly profess….Who has the power and resources to organise this? Those foreign mercenaries do not do any favours for people of the ME. Hands of the ME and the problem of terrorism will be largely solved. Justice for the great running sores of injustice like Palestine and the other ME conflicts /disputes which have created so much misery over the years and you will have removed the remaining stimulus for violence. The peoples of the ME have the right to decide their own fate without violent arrogant self serving outside intervention. The international community needs to support the peoples of the ME in working for justice and peaceful coexistence, not war and destruction.

  17. [...] that go along with it. The current bogeyman of “Islamic terrorism” is an incredibly inflated threat, so big, bad China will replace it with fearmongering over currency manipulation and [...]

  18. When Hell freezes over and the seas turn to lemonade.

  19. There are all kinds of crazies out there. But the largest, oldest, best-funded and most dangerous terrorist organization on this planet is the United States Federal Government.
    If you count the "Civil War" the American Federal Government is right up there with Hitler and Pol Pot for murdering its own citizens for left-wing ideological reasons.

  20. Hamas and Hizbollah are also local groups resisting israeli intervention, but the USA chooses to treat them as "international terrorists" dangerous to the USA. If only REAL problems culd be tackled: climate change, fracking, inequality,infrastructure, and PEACE could even be tried.

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  22. The New York Times this past weekend published a rather remarkable article talking openly about some basic facts that it typically ignores completely: (1) al-Qaeda is primarily motivated by America’s “unqualified support for Israel and the rulers of the Persian Gulf states,” as well as US militarism in the region, (2) al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist threats are not nearly as big a danger as Washington would have us believe.<a title="houston quinceanera limousi" href="http://www.elitelimohouston.com/occasions/quinceanera-limousine.htm">houston quinceanera limousi

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  30. Hamas and Hizbollah are also local groups resisting israeli intervention, but the USA chooses to treat them as "international terrorists" dangerous to the USA. If only REAL problems culd be tackled: climate change, fracking, inequality,infrastructure, and PEACE could even be tried.
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