How do we identify the real cost of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda?


by Sunny
3rd May, 2011 at 1:52 pm    

There are lots of different ways to assess the cost of the ‘War on Terror’ over the last ten years.

One of the cost to people’s security and way of life; i.e., numerous terrorism acts in the UK, Patriot Act in the US, increased security measures at airports, suspicion at fellow citizens, terrorist scares etc.

Another is the loss of life; not just the Britons and the Americans who died on 9/11 and 7/7 but the thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghanis who died as a result of bombs and raids. The innocent dead in Spain, in Bali and terrorist attacks in other Middle Eastern countries such as Syria.

Then there is the financial cost of the WoT. Ezra Klein at the WashPo says this is what Bin Laden really wanted to see escalated:

“We, alongside the mujaheddin, bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt,” he later explained. The campaign taught bin Laden a lot. For one thing, superpowers fall because their economies crumble, not because they’re beaten on the battlefield. For another, superpowers are so allergic to losing that they’ll bankrupt themselves trying to conquer a mass of rocks and sand. This was bin Laden’s plan for the United States, too.

And how much did this cost the US alone?

Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the price tag on the Iraq War alone will surpass $3 trillion. Afghanistan likely amounts to another trillion or two. Add in the build-up in homeland security spending since 9/11 and you’re looking at another trillion. And don’t forget the indirect costs of all this turmoil: The Federal Reserve, worried about a fear-induced recession, slashed interest rates after the attack on the World Trade Center, and then kept them low to combat skyrocketing oil prices, a byproduct of the war in Iraq. That decade of loose monetary policy may well have contributed to the credit bubble that crashed the economy in 2007 and 2008.

Then there’s the post-9/11 slowdown in the economy, the time wasted in airports, the foregone returns on investments we didn’t make, the rise in oil prices as a result of the Iraq War, the cost of rebuilding Ground Zero, health care for the first responders and much, much more.

Different people will of course focus on different aspects to this war. All are important costs. And in each case its arguable that the cost incurred in order to “defeat Bin Laden” was exactly what Bin Laden would have wanted and was way in excess of what anyone anticipated.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Current affairs,Terrorism






14 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : How do we identify the real cost of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda? http://bit.ly/kdJ0iD


  2. Shane

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : How do we identify the real cost of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda? http://bit.ly/kdJ0iD


  3. Dominic Casciani

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : How do we identify the real cost of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda? http://bit.ly/kdJ0iD




  1. Hermes — on 3rd May, 2011 at 2:02 pm  

    Sunny,

    There is another huge cost which you have not mentioned…the loss of respect for Islam generally in the West. No matter how often the distinction is made between Islam and Muslim extremists, there will be deep fear and distrust of both.

    After 9/11 anyone with a long beard was a target in the US, as many Sikhs will tell you. That anger is still there, just below the surface, and Islam has a long uphill battle to prove itself as a religion of peace. The politicos on blogs like this understand, but you try explaining the different brands of Islam to a Redneck in the midwest or an unemployed brickie in Glasgow.

  2. Optimist — on 3rd May, 2011 at 3:24 pm  

    Well, if we want to COST such things then has anyone tried to COST the price that the Palistinians have paid over the last 63 years. They have lost more than 82% of their country. Three million of them are still living in foreign lands as refugees, often in poverty, hunger and desease. Nearly half a million of them have been killed and others have known nothing but slavery at the hands of the occupying forces. The Britis are responsible for not only the start of their long suffering but, together with rest of the west, their countinuing life in hell.

  3. MaidMarian — on 3rd May, 2011 at 3:25 pm  

    I don’t especially like it, but Hermes is right.

    Bin Laden perhaps did more than anyone to really entrench identity politics as a defining division. There may be a question about how far this is magnified by the internet.

    But Hermes’ point most certainly stands, however distasteful.

  4. Boyo — on 3rd May, 2011 at 4:51 pm  

    OBL has been tremendously successful in his own terms. I’m unconvinced by the economic argument because the WOT was a war run for profit, and various US enterprises (and employers) were benefactors. It was not Afghanistan that bankrupted the USSR, it was the nuclear arms race.

    However, the attack on the Twin Towers resulted, albeit indirectly, to the war in Iraq, which delivered a body blow to the reputation of the US and the idea of the West as a force for good – without a doubt, what OBL started on 9/11 Bush and Blair did much to complete.

    This loss of moral high ground has been accompanied by the rise of alternative capitalist poles in Russia and China. This may have happened anyway, but the West can certainly no longer preach to others (although that does not stop it trying) and more importantly present a positive alternative – the fallout from Iraq has led to a disintegration in confidence both in the US and Europe. It’s moral superiority is now viewed with such distate that its elite appear to prefer cynical self-interest instead (just look at how the EU is tearing itself apart from the Euro to Schengen).

    Having said all the above I agree with an earlier post by Dr Paul in so much as, for all its sturm und drang, radical Islam will be a footnote to the victory of Corporate Capitalism in 1989, the real victim of which is actually (social) democracy. The rest is bread and circuses.

  5. Kismet Hardy — on 3rd May, 2011 at 6:13 pm  

    “That decade of loose monetary policy may well have contributed to the credit bubble that crashed the economy in 2007 and 2008.”

    People called me a cock when I suggested this saying ‘shut up it was the bank, cock’. There were other reasons I got called a cock, but looks like I was cocksure in this instance. A small party in my head, methinks (hope I’m invited) x

  6. damon — on 3rd May, 2011 at 11:53 pm  

    He made towns like Quetta dangerous for foriegners.
    I went there once and would like to go again, but these guys would make me nervous.

    http://i1.tribune.com.pk/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Story-1-Osama-Protest-PPI-640×480-640×480.jpg

  7. grouchie marks — on 4th May, 2011 at 3:16 am  

    Optomist said’Britis are responsible for not only the start of their long suffering but, together with rest of the west, their countinuing life in hell.”

    oops.. no mention of the fact that ‘Palestine’ is surrounded by massively wealthy oil rich arab nations that do little to help the Palestinians, yet are curiously omitted from your indictment.

    must be great not taking responsibility for anything.

  8. adam smith — on 4th May, 2011 at 3:33 am  

    “That decade of loose monetary policy may well have contributed to the credit bubble that crashed the economy in 2007 and 2008.”

    It’s obviously contributed to the massive debts that the us & uk currently find themselves in, and when added to a brown, balls & milliband encouraged asset bubbles & bank crisis & the costs of mass uk immigration, bring us to the reasons for current public spending cuts

  9. Boyo — on 4th May, 2011 at 6:02 am  

    Yes, Adam. The UK is the only country in the world so it had nothing to do with the global banking crisis.

    Fucking dolt.

  10. Optimist — on 4th May, 2011 at 10:43 am  

    ‘Palestine’ is surrounded by massively wealthy oil rich arab nations that do little to help the Palestinians’,… yes, …you are hundred percent right about that Mr Marks. But unfortunately the west had mananged to divide the Arab world into very useful (to the west ) sectors so that where there is the most oil, we have the fewest people, and where there is the least oil, we have most people. In anycase, rulers of those countries are in the pocket of the west, as west arms them to the tilt and props them up so that they can oppress their own people at the same time deny any help to the Palistinians. Hopefully it won’t last long as the ‘big giant’ is stirring right now. Then again the west is trying its best to steal their revolutions in the hope of putting in place people who would carry on the business as usual – with some new faces. But thats another argument !!

  11. chetk — on 22nd May, 2011 at 5:42 pm  

    Bin Laden was responsible for the attacks on thw Twin towers and the deaths of around 3000 innocent people.

    The loss of civil liberties and the destruction of several countries alongside hundreds of thousands/ millions of lives was the deliberate choice of the neo-con far right.

    What bin Laden wanted was what he got – a extreme response to his actions, instead of say, a measured police action to hunt down those responsible.

    The World will suffer more thanks to the cowardly actions neo-cons…

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.