December 6th, 2012
09:04 PM ET

End the war on terror and save billions

By Fareed Zakaria

If you want to know why we’re in such a deep budgetary hole, one large piece of it is that we have spent around $2 trillion on foreign wars in the past decade. Not coincidentally, we have had the largest expansion of the federal government since World War II. The Washington Post’s Dana Priest and William Arkin have described how the U.S. government has built 33 new complexes for the intelligence bureaucracies alone. The Department of Homeland Security employs 230,000 people.

A new Global Terrorism Index this week showed that terrorism went up from 2002 to 2007 – largely because of the conflicts in Afghanistan/Pakistan and Iraq — but has declined ever since. And the part of the world with the fewest incidents is North America. It could be our vigilance that is keeping terror attacks at bay. But it is also worth noting, as we observe the vast apparatus of searches and screening, that the Transportation Security Administration’s assistant administrator for global strategies has admitted that those expensive and cumbersome whole-body scanners have not resulted in the arrest of a single suspected terrorist. Not one.

Click here for the full article in the Washington Post

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. herblaub

    Fareed-I agree with you and do on other issues=President Obama could use you as a foreign policy advisor

    December 7, 2012 at 3:46 am | Reply
  2. USN Ret.

    Under the Clinton administration the intelligence and military were cut to the bone. My branch of service had aircraft setting for months due to a lack of parts, aircrew not getting the proper flight time to remain qualified. 9/11 happened because we treated terrorism as a crime not an act of war and 3,000 died and Clinton was not held responsible dropping our guard. I shudder to think if we treated 9/11 as a crime how many more in the states would be dead. Maybe your son, mother or wife would have had to pay the price to wake up the rest of the country. Even now know killers fighting on the battlefield are being treated as just law breakers and attempting to receive the same protections we enjoy. If you caught on the field of battle and not in uniform the under international law you can be shot with out a trial as a spy. Not my law but the rules of war over 100 countries have signed. War was declared and young men and women who join today know full well what they are asking and will be asked to do.

    Today is a day if sadness also it commentates a time and day we were not vigilante.

    Pray a prayer for those who died 71 years ago today was defending our FREEDOM.
    Remember Pearl Harbor

    December 7, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply
  3. USN Ret.

    Remember Pearl Harbor
    Mr. Zakaria
    I do agree that Department of Homeland Security and TSA are badly blotted and requires streamlining. Good luck with that. Government grew under Bush and Obama as well. Obama appears to resist any reduction at this time.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:46 am | Reply
  4. Just For Fun

    No matter the 21st. is comming. No more world at midnight.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
  5. Why Islam Condoms This

    Found under story:
    Freedom means being able to wear the veil, too

    no you see you made a fundamental error one who knows nothing about Islam will make....the burqa is not mandated by men but by God...and stop saying stuff when you know nothing about the subject...first educate yourself then contribute to the discussion...furthermore, I guess if a man is not affected by asking his wife to wear a miniskirt and a bra and walk in a local bar to be seen by other men then I believe it is okay for a Muslim man to walk in a restaurant with his wife wearing her clothes modestly! What makes one different from the other?
    Hate Wins
    Is this the same God that told the Taliban to shot a young girl for just wanting to read, or throw acid in the faces of other young women for wanting to learn or have their Dads kill them because they choses not to wear a BURQA?
    I hope not since we all pray to the same God of Abraham. God condoning the killing of children in his name not going to happen.
    This is not to offend anyone, but I think you can see my point. I try to understand Islam and each time I hit this wall with faces of dead and badly disfigured little girls and boys..

    December 7, 2012 at 11:08 am | Reply
    • Kathy


      December 12, 2012 at 4:56 am | Reply
  6. Why Islam Condoms This?

    I for one can not understand not allowing women the right to read that men have. Women have always been the target of weak men fear losing their power. Control the mother you control the children.
    Also why dose God need to mandate the burqa, he created us with no clothing at all.

    December 7, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • TheZel

      Amen... Islam has lost it's way. Started when they hooked up with Mohammed

      December 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  7. Quigley

    Actually Fareed, the so-called "war on terrorism" is no more, no less than a war for the expansionism of the U.S., Great Britain and France into the Middle East and Central Asia which can be stopped at any time. The problem lies in Washington and London where too many people are making large sums of money off of these cursed wars, especially with the M.I.C. in Washington D.C. which now controls 95% of Congress plus the White House!

    December 7, 2012 at 11:22 am | Reply
    • Miguel

      War on Terror is necessary and is more than justified.
      – Islamic terrorists carried out bombings in Great Britain.
      – Islamic terrorists carried out bombings in Spain.
      – Islamic terrorists killed innocent civilians including kids in France just because they were Jewish.
      – Islamic terrorists shoot rockets in the Middle East on countries such as Israel.
      – Islamic terrorists killed hundreds of people in Asia – Mumbai, Thailand, etc.
      The US, France, and UK are defending themselves by defeating the evil Islamic Terrorists. It is unreasonable and unthinkable to label self defense as expansionism. They are spending their taxpayer dollars to make the world a safer place. That's too bad for the Islamists but very good for everyone else.

      December 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  8. Just for Fun

    Most likely the OLD Mullahs who wrote the law had a very beautiful young 13 yr. old Wives and was jealous of other younger men looking at them.

    December 7, 2012 at 11:29 am | Reply
  9. Miguel

    Sure ending any war will save money - That is a trivial point. This is War on Terror - It has already saved countless lives around the world from terrorists. Islamic terrorists have been terrorizing the whole world: Spain, France, UK, Israel, India, US, Thailand and so many other places. The war on terror is not an expense - It is an investment. The War on Terror has saved countless lives in so many countries from Islamic terrorists, which can not be compared with savings in dollars.

    December 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
    • Phil

      As long as Islamic terrorism continues, the War on Terror should continue. The War on Terror can continue to modernize, evolve, and become more cost effective.Whereas Islamic radicals are incapable of evolving because their mission is reverting back to the stone age. Drones are one of the ways to make the War on Terror cheaper, safer and far more efficient.

      December 8, 2012 at 8:13 am | Reply
  10. Ian

    It is like saying I will save money by stop doing pest control for my house. It will surely save money in the near term... However, those pests can bring your house down in the long term.

    December 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  11. j. von hettlingen

    Fareed, you're right, the Obama-Administration should learn from James Madison's war against Britain in 1812. United States had had enough of British meddling in North America – and for the young nation, national pride was at stake. As it was 200 years ago, today's war on terror is also about the nation's psyche. The US had been attacked by terrorists and had lost its sense of security and unperturbedness. Yet at one point one has to see that a war doesn't replace retribution.

    December 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  12. Larry

    Money well spent. There have been no more serious attacks on the US soil since the War on Terror began. The War on Terror has reduced Al Qaeda down to a bunch of clowns which can only produce videos rather than do much harm. Those videos are merely entertaining rather than being scary. A few ridiculous attacks such as the Time Square bomb by the Islamic Pakistani lone wolf terrorist are laughable. The whole world is laughing at these bumbling nincompoops. The War on Terror has been incredibly effective.

    December 8, 2012 at 7:58 am | Reply
  13. Phil

    This article does not account for fact that drones are so affordable these days. Drones are a new and improved form of the War on Terror. Drones are already saving billions and are so effective!! The War on Terror will evolve and become cheaper with time - no need to stop it now when we can do what we have to do with such a small price tag!

    December 8, 2012 at 8:21 am | Reply
  14. joe anon 1

    end the war on terror?
    what reason would the u.s. have to exist?
    the u.s. creates terror.
    the u.s. is terror.

    then there is israel, america's boss, – the terror state of the terrorist people.

    December 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Well put joe anon 1, much unlike all these pro-war comments here made by all these weak minded Tea Partiers touting this so-called "war on terror". Such ignorance makes me sick. Thanks a million!

      December 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • Bob Bales

      Something that a little study of the facts will show to be completely false is not 'well put.'

      December 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  15. Chris_ny

    It is so much cheaper and better to fight the War on Terror using unmanned drones in Pakistan than having it here in NY like what happened on 911.

    December 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  16. Hate Wins

    Mr. Zakaria: Please read the definition of PEACE:
    War only ends when both sides agree to end any hostile action against each other.
    (1) Has any Islamic group proclaimed that they would stop hostile actions against the U.S. at any time in the last 12 years?
    (2) Has any one of the terrorist groups who call the U.S. their enemy asked for peace?
    (3) Have any of these groups declared that the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan or any where else in the Middle East would be sufficient grounds not to kill Americans around the world?
    (4) Can YOU pleas answer these questions?
    This is the second article you have posted and neither one placed any responsibility on other combatants to stop killing Americans.

    (1) NO
    (2) NO
    (3) NO
    (4) No response

    We had a similar problem at the end of Viet Nam. Ho Chi Min knew he had the U.S. News outlets and the peace movement on his side and refused to negotiate, they argued about the shape of the table until we increased our B52 strikes. What a surprise the shape of the table no longer mattered when he started to lose the support of his people. Of course there were other things being considered but that table was a MAJOR hang up.

    The killing needs to stop of course but with out some assurances from our enemies THERE WILL BE NO PEACE only a lull in the fighting until those groups recoup and rearm. Then the killing will start once more.

    Copied and updated from post by: USN Ret.

    December 13, 2012 at 8:52 am | Reply

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