Post-9/11: Doubling Down on Intervention?

September 11, 2014 – This week marks the 13th3568235126_6dbbb77081_z anniversary of 9/11. Are we safer? Is another attack imminent? Has the War on Terror been worth the freedom we have lost? There’s a lot more questions than answers. This is in part because the U.S. government refuses to release the 28 classified pages from the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, which is believed to detail Saudi Arabia’s support of the hijackers. This is an outrageous affront to all of us — the citizens of a supposedly “free” country. But let’s fast-forward to where the “War on Terror” is today, as this week also marked President Obama’s public response to ISIS. Predictably, it appears the U.S. has chosen more intervention (bombs). Simply, we have chosen more of what got us into the mess to begin with.
The sane response to ISIS is nonintervention. As Ron Paul recently stated, military intervention will not end ISIS. It will only serve as a recruiting tool for more terrorism, and will further drain the U.S. Treasury. Paul also pointed out that intervention is exactly what Osama bin Laden would have wanted, and that “the only sensible policy is to bring the troops home.” Naturally, many in the mainstream media pounced on Paul’s statement. FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly smugly dismissed Paul as “kooky” while predictably calling for more bombs. But what today, with what we should have learned in the 13 years since 9/11, is “kooky,” intervention or nonintervention? Let’s use Ron Paul’s paraphrased statements as the lens through which we discern kookiness.
Military intervention (The War on Terror) will not end ISIS. More bombs will create more terrorists. It’s the essence of “blowback” — the unintended consequences of intervention. Like Ron Paul, Former Chief of the CIA bin Laden Unit Michael Scheuer has repeatedly pointed out that the “War on Terror” has created more terrorists. According to Scheuer, in 2001 al Qaeda was only active in Afghanistan. Now al Qaeda is active across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the U.S. The heart and soul of ISIS is ideological. We can’t bomb an ideology to death.
The War on Terror is a recruiting tool. George W. Bush infamously challenged terrorists: “Bring ‘em on!” On they came. Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut recently noted: “Combining American militarism with Arab dictatorships is probably the stupidest recipe that anybody could possibly come up with to try to fight jihadi movements like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State and others… It was that combination of Arab autocracy and American militarism that actually nurtured and let these movements expand.”
The War on Terror has drained the U.S. Treasury. According to Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq could cost as much as $6 trillion dollars. This is the equivalent of $75,000 for every American household. Yes, your household has already paid $75,000 for the War on Terror. What did you get in return? ISIS.
The War on Terror’s draining of the U.S. Treasury is exactly what Osama bin Laden wanted. It’s called “the war of attrition.” CNN noted this more than 10 years ago, quoting bin Laden: “We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy… We… bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat… All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda (or ISIS), in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations.” Current Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has echoed the same strategy, adding: “Muslims should abandon the U.S. dollar and replace it with the currency of nations that did not attack Muslims.” Interestingly, Paul-Martin Foss writes in an article this week at Voices of Liberty that the U.S.’s real reason for confronting ISIS is to maintain dollar hegemony. Lost on our policy-makers is the fact that the greatest threat to the dollar is our policy-makers’ own interventionism.
So, ask yourself, from where we stand today 13 years after 9/11, what is “kooky”? Doubling-down on intervention, or choosing nonintervention by bringing the troops home, which would be the first step in strengthening our economy and finances?