zaterdag 11 september 2021

The censorship of Spike Lee’s NYC Epicenters is a tragically fitting end to the last 20 years


Even the respected and dauntless filmmaker Spike Lee could not overcome the awesome wrath of the mainstream media that comes down upon any person of influence who dares challenge the official story of 9/11.

In a span of three days, from August 23rd to 26th, Lee went from staunchly defending his decision to include so-called “9/11 conspiracy theorists” in his eight-hour HBO docuseries, NYC Epicenters 9/11 → 2021½, to removing the entire 30 minutes he had devoted to questioning how the Twin Towers and Building 7 fell. The half-hour was part of the final two-hour episode set to air on the night of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Unbeknownst to most people — because only members of the media got to view the episode and declare it unfit for the public to see — the 30 minutes of excised material included far more than just interviews with so-called “fringe architects.” (Actually, there were upwards of 10 architects and engineers, ranging from a San Francisco high-rise architect to a fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.) There were also interviews with 9/11 family members who believe they have not been told the truth about the murder of their loved ones and with first responders and survivors who witnessed explosions. Along with all those interviews was a wealth of archival footage and radio dispatches from that morning, in which rescuer after rescuer can be heard reporting explosions. (Full disclosure: I was also interviewed for the film.)

Instead of painting a full and accurate picture of the now-excised section, the media seized upon the inclusion of “conspiracy group” Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth and our founder Richard Gage — who, in the words of Slate editor Jeremy Stahl, “is responsible for peddling some of the most pernicious and long-running lies about the 9/11 attacks.”

Stahl’s choice of words was clearly intended to imply, falsely, that Gage does not actually believe the view he is presenting but is, rather, knowingly perpetuating a lie for some nefarious purpose. Any person practicing real journalism who has interviewed Gage “multiple times” could not plausibly claim that Gage is lying. What Stahl was practicing was propaganda, the express goal of which was to stop millions of viewers from seeing the half-hour of documentary film that Lee made.

The death blow to Lee’s attempt to shine a light on the Twin Towers’ and Building 7’s controlled demolition appears to have been Stahl’s reporting of statements that Gage made in the past year in which he called the coronavirus pandemic a “hoax” and aired other related views about vaccines and Bill Gates. Stahl also loosely accused Gage of being anti-Semitic — or of condoning anti-Semitism — for having tolerated suggestions, made by an audience member in 2012 and by a podcast host more recently, that Israel’s Mossad was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Less than 24 hours after Stahl’s Slate article was published, news broke that Lee was “back in the editing room” reexamining the final chapter of the series. One day later, HBO announced that the entire half-hour had been cut.

If Lee had any say in the decision, I suspect he did what he did because he felt he could not defend keeping Gage, nor did he care to, and he didn’t have time for the massive edit that would have been required to remove Gage, who was central to the section. It may be that all of the other attacks did not faze him at all. However, the current narrative is that Lee capitulated to the totality of the media’s condemnation over featuring so-called “conspiracy theorists.”

At the height of the controversy and since, countless articles have been published referring to the controlled demolition theory as “debunked.” These articles either have no links to any sources, or they have links to Popular Mechanics articles from 10 years ago or more, or they have links to the very reports and FAQs issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that are disputed by thousands of architects, engineers, and scientists. (By the way, Lee and others make the point that fire isn’t hot enough to melt steel because there was molten metal at Ground Zero, not because the steel needed to melt for the buildings to collapse. This fact, as with all of the evidence of controlled demolition, has not been debunked.)

A journalist friend at a serious investigative news outlet recently told me that on any other issue, relying on the articles of a pop-science magazine like Popular Mechanics to claim that a particular argument had been “debunked,” without doing one’s own research, would not pass as legitimate journalism. But when it comes to mainstream reporting of challenges to the official story of 9/11, we are not talking about journalism but propaganda.

Indeed, for the past 20 years, the mainstream media have revealed themselves — at least those who have done the writing and editing about this issue — to be nothing more than a cult of denialists and propagandists when it comes to addressing what really happened on 9/11. The dictionary definition of a cult is “a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, or ideal, etc.” In this case, that thing is the official story of 9/11.

Thus, the media’s response to Lee’s positive portrayal of controlled demolition proponents was especially swift and ferocious because it represented a profound threat to the object of their veneration.

Not only was the half-hour too compelling, thanks to Lee’s “extraordinary directorial panache” and his inclusion of sympathetic figures like Bob McIlvaine, who believes an explosion killed his son while he was entering the North Tower, but Lee himself is about the most terrifying messenger the media could have imagined.

Here is a man who is generally beloved by a wide cross section of the American public, from film buffs to sports fans to the Black community to progressives and beyond. He recently returned from being president of the Cannes Film Festival jury. He has produced and directed dozens of films, many of them highly acclaimed. And now he has just created seven-and-a-half hours of “exuberant,” “brilliant,” “poignant” documentary storytelling about Covid-19 and 9/11.

How could it be that Lee believes so strongly the Twin Towers and Building 7 were brought down with explosives that he wanted to dedicate essentially the final 30 minutes of his HBO docuseries to exploring, if not advocating, that view?

Unable to even imagine the possibility of Lee and his guests being right, the media was forced to rationalize that Lee simply went off the deep end for a moment, “fraternizing with the truthers” on a “pet project” and almost committing a “career-defining offense,” in the words of The New Yorker’s Doreen St. Félix.

Controlled demolition denialism is so engrained in the culture of the media that an entire generation of young writers like St. Félix, who was eight years old in 2001, simply take at face value, without any curiosity or questions or serious research, the notion that the controlled demolition theory has been debunked. Somehow, they manage to look at the collapse of Building 7 and harbor no doubt whatsoever that fire brought it down. Such is the power of 20 years of propaganda that otherwise intelligent people like St. Félix end up doing the bidding — I will assume unwittingly — of whoever perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.

In the face of this relentless and dehumanizing propaganda machine, Lee’s intention to give voice to advocates of the controlled demolition theory on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 should be seen as a testament to the millions of hours of hard work put in by tens of thousands of activists over the past two decades (including those at Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth). Lee was ever-so-close to elevating their message to unseen heights and possibly creating a turning point in the now two-decades-long fight for truth and justice.

But it was almost too good to be true, at least right now. The censorship of Spike Lee’s documentary about 9/11 on the 20th anniversary of that day — when a conspicuous 90 minutes will air on HBO instead of two hours — is a tragically fitting end to the last 20 years of perpetual war, cover-up, and propaganda that have led to an unprecedented level of distrust of public institutions.

Let us hope and do everything we can to ensure that the next 20 years will be different. There is little doubt in the minds of most people that the current trajectory of our society is unsustainable. Exposing the truth about 9/11 is essential to changing that trajectory.

Ted Walter is the director of strategy and development for Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Photograph by Satchel Lee/Courtesy HBO.

Marvin Gaye's Biographer

Ik zag Marvin Gaye begin jaren zeventig in New York optreden. Geweldig, als één van de weinige witten in een stadion vol zwarten, ruim twee uur topmuziek.

Marvin Gaye's biographer on 50 years of 'What's Going On'

Covid Facts Israel


Biggest Smoking Gun Ever On BREAKTHROUGH INFECTION Cover-up! 99.9% of new infections are listed as UNVACCINATED in master data! 
  • The Israeli Ministry of Health reports that 64.5% of those hospitalized and 67% of seriously ill people with COVID were “fully immunized” with both shots.

Only Israel has a standard to include vaccination status in their National data on new infections. Populations with the highest vaccination rates (like Israel) have the highest hospitalization rates of the VACCINATED. Officially 70% of all COVID patients hospitalized in Israel are fully vaccinated.

Israel's Covid Surge Shows the World What's Coming Next › news › articles › israel-s-...

3 days ago — There were also so-called breakthrough infections in those who have been vaccinated, and the drop in efficacy of vaccines.

Biggest Smoking Gun Ever On BREAKTHROUGH INFECTION Cover-up! 99.9% of new infections are listed as UNVACCINATED in master data! Confirmed by John Hopkins University!

In the USA vaccination status is purposely not included in the new infection statistical data! 100% of infections are listed as UNVACCINATED, without any accountability.

Read it straight from John Hopkins University website. The #1 biggest smoking gun ever!  Most states have no collection standards, or DO NOT collect the data by policy. So by default 100% of all new infections are listed as "unvaccinated" in the public master data of covid infections.

John Hopkins University says the states that do collect vaccination status of new infection cases have no way to use the data. Others just post small tidbits in PDFs once every four months, posting data that is five months old.

So this is proof that we only have Biden (and a few convicted felon profiteering pharmaceutical companies) saying it's safe, with twisted legal terminology so they can't be sued 20 years from now, although they're protected from lawsuits under Presidential orders for the time being.

However numerous vaccine (pro-vaccine) experts warn not to inject this substance mRNA untested gene-therapycalling itself a covid vaccine.

Read it and weep:

There isn't even a fox to guard the hen house!


Text of John Hopkins University report:



COVID-19 breakthrough case data is essential for tracking the virus and monitoring vaccine efficacy. Only 35 states report this data and only a portion of them report the data in a useful format. We need clear, consistent reporting of this data across all 50 states.



Beth Blauer, Associate Vice Provost, JHU

September 7, 2021Dr. William Moss and I recently explained the need to collect data on breakthrough cases and report that data in a standardized manner across states, given the lack of federal guidance. When discussing breakthrough cases it is essential to remember that breakthrough cases are expected and normal, but it is still important to record and share data on them. The vaccines work against all current variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including the delta variant.1 We know this in part due to breakthrough case data reported by the CDC: compared to unvaccinated individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2, vaccinated individuals were much less likely to develop severe disease and much less likely to die from the virus.2

The CDC only reports breakthrough cases that rise to the level of hospitalization,3 putting the burden of complete data reporting on state health departments. This creates a gap in knowledge regarding infection and transmission patterns in communities with mixed vaccination status. Additionally, the formalities required for states to report to the CDC can cause the aggregate CDC dataset to lag behind actual trends.4 Every state needs to describe the vaccination status of those who test positive, are hospitalized with COVID-19, and who die of COVID-19.

State Breakthrough Data Report Card

As of Aug. 30, only 35 states and Washington, D.C. publicly report breakthrough cases in any form (shown in the map below). Although some states that do not offer regular public reporting of COVID-19 data will share the information upon direct request,5 public reporting is the gold standard for data availability. This map highlights the inconsistent methods states use to report breakthrough cases. States publish the data with varying levels of detail through COVID-19 dashboards, state health department websites, PDF reports, press releases, and, in certain cases social media.6


Which states do not report any breakthrough case data? The list is long: Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Choosing not to report breakthrough cases with detailed metadata makes it nearly impossible to track COVID-19 surges, variants, and vaccine effectiveness. Residents of these states could be using breakthrough case data to make daily decisions that impact the health of their families. States have a responsibility to provide this critical data to their residents.

Model Students

At a minimum, states must regularly report breakthrough cases. However, some reporting methods are better than others, and there are some states that could serve as models. The best data reporting method is through established COVID-19 dashboards with downloadable functionality. All states (apart from Nebraska)7 still maintain COVID-19 data dashboards, and breakthrough data should be incorporated into them. Examples of excellent dashboards with breakthrough case data are: IndianaNorth Dakota, and Wisconsin (pictured below).


Not only has Wisconsin reported detailed breakthrough data, it has also provided insightful visualizations that highlight the efficacy of vaccination and the dangers of choosing to remain unvaccinated. Other states still report data through their dashboards or health department websites without the same functionality and ability to download plain text files containing the raw data. That option is less ideal, but still preferable to release of data in PDFs and press releases, because these data are not always machine-readable. Data can still be scraped if PDFs are regularly formatted and uploaded to the same destination, but without consistent formatting the data must be manually recorded. As usual, consistency is key.

States need to report breakthrough case data in a manner that provides context and access to raw data. The states reporting breakthroughs in any format are still outperforming their peers that do not report the data.

Individualized Data Plan for the United States

This incomplete reporting and inconsistent formatting make it difficult to anticipate when the Coronavirus Resource Center will be able to report on breakthrough case data. States are significantly hampering efforts to define the national landscape of COVID-19 breakthrough cases by not reporting the data, or reporting it infrequently in atypical formats. The delta variant is already ravaging the United States, and other variants may arise in the future.8 We need detailed, real-time information on breakthrough cases to monitor for vaccine efficacy and to defend against new surges.

States are responsible for protecting their residents, and providing data on breakthrough cases during a global pandemic should be a key component of that effort. While the federal government has not yet mandated public reporting of breakthrough case data, the states should take it upon themselves to provide the best, most detailed data on breakthrough cases that they can. Some states have led the way and shown that they can provide this data in a clear, informative, up-to-date manner. It is time for the rest to follow their lead.

1. J. Lopez Bernal, N. Andrews, C. Gower, E. Gallagher, R. Simmons, S. Thelwall, J. Stowe, E. Tessier, N. Groves, G. Dabrera, R. Myers, C.N.J. Campbell, G. Amirthalingam, M. Edmunds, M. Zambon, K.E. Brown, S. Hopkins, M. Chand, M. Ramsay, Effectiveness of Covid-19 Vaccines against the B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant, New England Journal of Medicine 385(7) (2021) 585-594.
2. COVID-19 Vaccines Work, 16 August 2021. (Accessed 30 August 2021).
3. COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Case Investigation and Reporting. (Accessed 17 August 2021).
4. J. Musgrave, Florida accuses CDC of inflating COVID numbers in apparent CDC mistake, 10 August 2021. (Accessed 11 August 2021).
5. C. Mui, 15 states are keeping COVID-19 breakthrough cases under wraps, 06 August 2021. (Accessed 16 August 2021).
6. A.P. Health, Breakthrough Cases in Alabama, 23 August 2021.
7. P. Ricketts, Gov. Ricketts Ends Coronavirus State Of Emergency, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, 28 June 2021.
8. A. Winning, South Africa detects new coronavirus variant, still studying its mutations, 30 August 2021. (Accessed 30 August 2021).

Breakthrough case figure taken from Wisconsin Department of Health Services


Beth Blauer is the Associate Vice Provost for Public Sector Innovation and Executive Director of the Centers for Civic Impact at Johns Hopkins. Blauer and her team transform raw COVID-19 data into clear and compelling visualizations that help policymakers and the public understand the pandemic and make evidence-based decisions about health and safety.


It is a reliable and Biblical practice, to practice the social distancing when there are lager disease outbreaks.

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vrijdag 10 september 2021

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

Author Steve Coll, managing editor of The Washington Post, discusses the findings of his latest book on the CIA's involvement in the covert wars in Afghanistan that fueled Islamic militancy and gave rise to bin Laden's al Qaeda. To view the video feed of the discussion, please click on the "Event Summary" link below.


Feb. 24, 2004


Steve Coll described his book as a "narrative of the history of the antecedents of September 11 as they were located in Afghanistan beginning in 1979 and ending on Sept 10, 2001." According to Coll, he placed a special emphasis on the role of the CIA and Pakistani and Saudi intelligence—all three principal actors in Afghanistan over those 20 years. His book was based almost entirely on 200 interviews with American, Pakistan, Saudi and Afghan participants. He also tried to draw on documents as much as he could but this proved difficult as there is very little documentation during this period. He describes the book as a piece of journalism where he attempted to bring multiple and balanced points of view to bear on controversial episodes.

The story is written in 3 parts. The first section covers the anti-Soviet Jihad of 1979-89, a time when the U.S. collaborated with Pakistani and Saudi intelligence to aid the Afghan Mujahadeen battling Soviet occupying forces. The second phase he covers in the book begins in 1989 with the Soviet pullout and goes through late 1997, early 1998. Here he tells the story of the "American retreat form Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban, the full radicalization of Bin Laden, the maturation of Al Qaeda into a global terrorist organization, and the erosion of common cause among CIA, ISI (Pakistani), and Saudi intelligence." The third and final part of this story begins in the Spring of 1998 and runs right up to Sept 10, 2001. Here Coll focuses on the return of CIA covert action to Afghanistan and the Clinton Administration's mandate to capture, disrupt, or kill Bin Laden, and his lieutenants.

Coll went on to highlight a few of the major themes in each part of the book including the relationship between the Saudis and Bin Laden in the 1980s as well as Bin Laden's evolving relationship with Pakistani Intelligence (ISI) which led to his role in training guerillas for Kashmir and other theatres. Coll also described the CIA/Pakistani collaboration during the late 1980s—"when things got complicated and our agendas were diverging." It was during the late 1980s, Coll related, that the "independent Pakistani Islamization agenda starts to express itself in a way that is quite menacing."

In the second phase of the book Coll focuses on the rise of the Taliban and the Pakistanis' struggle to decide how to deal with them. For this phase of the story, Coll interviewed Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan. He explained how the U.S. almost completely disengaged during this time, seeing Afghanistan as "an old Cold War story" and no longer of strategic importance for the U.S. It was also during this time that Bin Laden arrived in Kabul.

In the third part of his book, Coll describes the CIA's reengagement in Afghanistan and the Clinton Administration's two-track policy to pinpoint Bin Laden's location and to either capture and try him in U.S. courts or kill him while trying. Coll also describes the role of General Ahmed Shah Masood, the creator and leader of the Northern Alliance, who was assassinated immediately prior to September 11, 2001.

Commentators Milt Bearden and George Cave, both retired senior CIA operatives, were not able to read the book as it was just released the day prior to this event. Instead, they each offered insights based on their respective experiences in Afghanistan. Bearden, who had spent 30 years in clandestine services, commented that the U.S.-Pakistan relationship was as important, yet difficult to understand today as during the time period that Coll covers in his book. He tells the story of how it was decided that the CIA would go into Pakistan in 1979 after the Soviet invasion and describes the dynamic between the U.S. and the Pakistanis. According to Bearden, neither side trusted or understood the other. He commented that his mission in Afghanistan was very specific---to get the Soviets out—so he did not pay such characters as Masood much attention, although he does not deny that Masood was an important figure.

George Cave, who was sent to Kabul in 1956, commented that the question of the strategic importance of Afghanistan for the United States was a question even then. The specific question at that time was what impact or importance the Soviet influence over Afghanistan had for the U.S. One of Cave's primary jobs was to report back on every agreement signed between the Soviets and the Afghans. He describes the deepening relationship between the Soviets and the Afghans as he witnessed it. He concluded by describing the CIA's initial involvement in aiding and training the Mujahadeen against the Soviets. 

The Taliban’s Choice of Interim Prime Minister


The Taliban’s Choice of Interim Prime Minister

There appears to be a power struggle behind Mullah Akhund’s appointment, writes Ali A. Olomi. 

Mullah Hasan Akhund, foreground, has been part of the Taliban leadership since the 1990s, when he served as foreign minister. (AP, B.K. Bangash)

By Ali A. Olomi 
Penn State

The Taliban announced on Sept. 7 that Mullah Hasan Akhund has been appointed interim prime minister of Afghanistan. The decision comes more than two weeks after the militant Islamist group seized control of much of the country, including the capital, Kabul. The Conversation asked Ali A. Olomi, a historian of the Middle East and Islam at Penn State University, to explain who Mullah Akhund is, and what his appointment may portend for Afghanistan amid concern over human rights in the war-ravaged nation.

Who is Mullah Hasan Akhund?

Mullah Akhund is a fascinating but relatively enigmatic figure in the Taliban. He has been an influential figure in Afghanistan since the inception of the militant group in the 1990s.

But unlike other Taliban leaders from that period, he was not involved in the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s. While Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar and his deputies fought with the mujahedeen — a loose network of anti-Soviet Afghan fighters — Akhund did not.

Instead, he is seen much more as a religious influence in the Taliban. He served on the Taliban’s shura councils, the traditional decision-making body made up of religious scholars and mullahs – an honorific given to those trained in Islamic theology.

Akhund is probably best known as one of the architects of the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, the giant cliff statues destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.

Initially, Omar had no intention of destroying the statues. But the Taliban founder was angered at seeing conservation money being made available for the UNESCO world heritage site while failing to secure humanitarian aid from the United Nations for Afghanistan. As such, Omar sought out the advice of his shura, and Akhund was part of the council that ordered the destruction of the sixth-century statues.

Akhund held a political role in the Taliban government of the 1990s, serving as foreign minister; however, his importance lies more in the development of the group’s religious identity. He, like Mullah Omar, was schooled in a brand of strict Islamist ideology, known as Deobandism.

After the Taliban was ousted from Afghanistan in 2001, Akhund remained an influential presence, operating mostly from exile in Pakistan. From there he would give spiritual and religious guidance to the Taliban throughout the 2000s and 2010s. In this role, he provided the ideological justification for the ongoing insurgency against the United States and the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

Today, there are broadly two factions in the Taliban — a military wing that carries out the day-to-day campaigns, and a conservative religious elite grounded in Deobandism that acts as its political wing. Mullah Akhund aligns very much with the religious faction of the Taliban.

What does his appointment tell us about the Taliban?

There appears to be a power struggle behind Akhund’s appointment. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who served as deputy to Omar during the early years of the Taliban before assuming the position of de facto leader after Omar’s death, had been seen by many experts on Afghanistan as a potential head of state. But there is political tension between Baradar and the powerful Haqqani network – a family-based Islamist group that has become the Taliban’s de facto diplomatic arm in recent years and has been successful in gaining support for the group among other local groups.

Abdul Ghani Baradar attending peace talks in March 2021.

Some had expected Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar to be appointed the Afghan prime minister. (Sefa Karacan, Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Haqqanis are among the most militant factions of the Taliban. And recent conciliatory language from Baradar on issues such as women’s rights, working with the international community and amnesty for members of the former government runs counter to the ideology of the Haqqani network.

Akhund seems to be a compromise candidate between supporters of Baradar and the Haqqani network. The delay in his appointment — the Taliban repeatedly put off making an announcement — could be an indicator of internal divisions in the Taliban. When the announcement came, it was accompanied by news that Baradar would be his deputy, while two members of the Haqqani network would also serve in the Afghan government.

Whether this arrangement is permanent or temporary remains to be seen, but the compromise could be a testing of the waters of the Taliban – to see how effective Akhund is as a unifying figure for the group.

What does Akhund’s appointment mean for Afghanistan?

Akhund is a conservative, religious scholar whose beliefs include restrictions on women and the denial of civil rights for ethic and religious minorities.

His edicts in the 1990s, adopted by the Taliban, included the banning of women’s education, enforcing gender segregation and the adoption of strict religious garb. This could all be an indicator of what is to come. Despite the conciliatory language of the Taliban of late, I believe it is likely that we might see a return to some of the rules in place when the Taliban previously held power, including a ban on women’s education.

We have already seen on Sept. 5 the Taliban order female university students to wear the abaya. The abaya is similar to a burka, but it differs in that the coverings are nearly always black. The abaya is not Afghan, but a style of dress more common in the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

With this order, I see the Taliban signaling its intention to place Afghanistan within a wider Islamist movement. In the 1990s, the Taliban were very much an insular, nationalist group with the aim of bringing its brand of Islamist rule to Afghanistan. Now, Akhund seems to be looking to position the Taliban alongside international partners – an ambition that can also be seen in the Taliban’s recent diplomatic outreach with the governments of Qatar, the UAE and Pakistan.

Ali A. Olomi is assistant professor of history at Penn State.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

20 Deadly Years of Wasted Opportunities Since 9/11


20 Deadly Years of Wasted Opportunities Since 9/11

With communities across the country in dire need of investment, Lindsay Koshgarian says the case for avoiding more pointless  wars couldn’t be clearer.

Long Island Expressway in New York City shut down due to flash flooding from post-tropical storm Ida’s landfall, Sept. 2. (Tommy Gao, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Lindsay Koshgarian

Twenty years have now passed since 9/11.

The 20 years since those terrible attacks have been marked by endless wars, harsh immigration crackdowns, and expanded federal law enforcement powers that have cost U.S. citizens their privacy and targeted entire communities based on nothing more than race, religion or ethnicity.

Those policies have also come at a tremendous monetary cost — and a dangerous neglect of domestic investment.

In a new report I co-authored with my colleagues at the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, we found that the federal government has spent $21 trillion on war and militarization both inside the U.S. and around the world over the past 20 years. That’s roughly the size of the entire U.S. economy.

Even while politicians have written blank checks for militarism year after year, they’ve said they can’t afford to address our most urgent issues. No wonder these past 20 years have been rough on U.S. families and communities.

After strong growth from 1970 to 2000, household incomes have stagnated for 20 years as Americans struggled through two recessions in the years leading up to the pandemic. As pandemic eviction moratoriums end, millions are at risk of homelessness.

U.S. soldier on night patrol in 2012 near Combat Outpost Terezayi in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army, James Estrada)

U.S. public health systems have also been chronically underfunded, leaving the U.S. helpless to enact the testing, tracing and quarantining that helped other countries limit the pandemic’s damage. Over 650,000 Americans have died from Covid-19 — the equivalent of a 9/11 every day for over seven months. The opioid epidemic claims another 50,000 lives a year.

Meanwhile extreme weather events like wildfires, hurricanes and floods have grown in frequency over the past 20 years. The U.S. hasn’t invested nearly enough in either renewable energy or climate resiliency to deal with the increasing effects climate change has on its communities.

In the face of all this suffering, it’s clear that $21 trillion in spending hasn’t made anyone safer.

Instead, the human costs have been staggering. Around the world, the forever wars have cost 900,000 lives and left 38 million homeless — and as the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan has shown us, they were a massive failure.

Militarized spending has helped deport 5 million people over the past 20 years, often taking parents from their children. The majority of those deported hadn’t committed any crime except for being in the U.S. 

And it has paid for the government to listen in on phone calls and target communities for harassment and surveillance without any evidence of crime or wrongdoing, eroding the civil liberties of all Americans.

Fortunately, there’s a silver lining: We’ve found that for just a fraction of what the U.S. government spent on militarization these last 20 years, it’s possible to start to make life much better.

For $4.5 trillion, the U.S. could build a renewable, upgraded energy grid for the whole country. For $2.3 trillion, it could create 5 million $15-an-hour jobs with benefits — for 10 years. For just $25 billion, it could vaccinate low-income countries against Covid-19, saving lives and stopping the march of new and more threatening virus variants.

It could do all that and more for less than half of what it’s spent on wars and militarization in the last 20 years. With communities across the country in dire need of investment, the case for avoiding more pointless, deadly wars couldn’t be clearer.

The best time for those investments would have been during the past 20 years. The next best time is now.

Lindsay Koshgarian directs the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

This article is from OtherWords.


  S.L. Kanthan @Kanthan2030 Western politicians are absolute clowns, but they have no self-awareness. “Iran’s actions are reckless!” Surpr...