Terrorists to US: "Touch My Junk and I'll Have You Arrested"

11/29/2010 09:51 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Paul Tullis Writer on the science-policy intersection

Airport body scanners cost $734,000 each.

TSA has spent $42 billion, according to CBS News, since 9/11.

Pat-downs that some travelers find intrusive have caused outrage among the public.

Experts endlessly opine about how to get "the best bang for our buck" -- a tasteless metaphor, given the context -- for our security and military officers say we're not wisely spending our security dollar.

Does any of this make any sense? Of course not; this is the United States we're talking about, the most neurotic nation in history.

Maybe if we stopped invading the countries of the people we've made our enemies; stopped propping up corrupt election thieves we euphemize as "governments"; and maybe if we started asking our allies to adhere to international law, we wouldn't have to try to anticipate and eradicate every possible threat against our airliners and cities.

In the meantime, every day we send almost $1 billion from our gas stations to a country that builds schools in Pakistan where they teach children how and why to kill us.

We've spent $743 billion on a war in Iraq not sanctioned by either Congress or the UN, to which 4429 Americans and about 100,000 Iraqis have given their lives. It took that country eight months to form a government.

We've been pacifying Afghanistan for more than nine years. The president stole the election, and 119 candidates for parliament were disqualified by the country's election commission.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is DOA over the issue of settlements, which are illegal dwellings built by religious extremists who take literally a 4000-year old text that also advocates in favor of human slavery. This is in clear contravention of international law, and several UN sanctions, and yet Israel's closest ally in the region -- that would be us -- says nothing. A ninety-day extension of a partial freeze is considered a major concession.

The US is conducting its war on terror with about as much logic as it's applied to the war on drugs, now in its 42nd year: quixotically attempting to halt the effects rather than intelligently addressing the causes. We've spent billions criminalizing drug use instead of preventing it, and we throw billions securing against the most recent threat even as we spend trillions motivating people in faraway countries to threaten us.

There will always be a few pathological Islamists nobody can do anything about, just as there will always be some drug addicts who can't be helped, despite every intervention. But shouldn't we be trying to encourage fewer of these, instead of more? Our enemies multiply with every child killed in a CIA-operated drone strike in Western Pakistan.