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 (37 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 |
    • cocoasurfer

      I'm trying to set the aim. The U.S is getting all the heat but catch your breath a minute. Read the speech the IEA gave to Norway on 8/25/2014. All the religious smoke and mirrors are blinding the real purpose of stabilizing IRAQ. Maliki just didn't support the Sunni so now it's a little crazy. BP, Exxon Mobile, and Dutch Shell are already under contract to produce the last of the big sweet oil deposits in IRAQ. The Kurd are also helping out because the fields are not in the south like most of the oil. It's north. The U.S is also supported by China because they also have the largest consumption of oil and have their own big boy going in to contract for their share. It's a five year plan to make IRAQ the second largest producer in the world. By 2035 China will be all but 17% dependent on foreign oil. They will also be the largest consumer. Iraq will be on line to produce over 200,000,000 BpD. I know a religious war is a little more interesting but so is The game of Thrones. you can almost lay the maps over each other, Conflict and future oil production. America is already shipping oil to china due to low consumption here. Production is high, the highest in the world right now. we're No.1 in production. We have to keep the barrel over a dollar to gain. Low consumption= low cost. Smart people know that Nations are joining together to form a new World order. It is actually a good thing because it will also regulate pollution from oil production. the trenches of war are no different than When Rome took land or when rebel Europeans took the Americas. People died. The difference now is the major players are starting to understand the brutal results of industry on the Earth. It's a cold reality but undeveloped nations will fall by the masses before 2050. Look at the list of countries on the board of the IEA. you will see. It will be a hopeful event, If Iran and Syria will join the IEA, Maybe helping them Ice the ISIL. Will expedite Peace a modernization to all the world. SELL YOUR CAMELS. There no room for this brutal existence anymore. Be thankful you're on the right soil my brothers and sisters. PEACE.

      August 29, 2014 at 12:50 am |
    • Richard Albertson

      On Viet Nam Moratorium Day in 1969, UCLA professor Warren H. Schmidt sat down and wrote a parable called "Is it always right to be right?" In June 2016, Professor Schmidt died at the age of 95. As a memorial to Professor Schmidt and as a reminder that there is a solution to the present divisiveness both internationally and nationally, I would like people to take another look at the film based on Professor Schmidt's parable. Please check out "Is it always right to be right" on Youtube. Please let me know what you think and if it offers a realistic solution to both domestic and international problems.I hope that this short film could be shown on GPS soon.

      July 12, 2016 at 12:54 am |
  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 |
    • Philip

      Pray a prayer for the Catholic nunnery and orphanage that was at ground zero for Fat Man bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Not to mention Christians slain by little boy bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Bombs blessed by a Catholic priest who sprinkled "holy water" on them as if it were God himself dropping bombs on Christians.

      August 30, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
  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 |
    • Philip

      Get a clue. There have been over 800 Homeland Security Prisons built in the USA since 9/11. "FEMA" camps, they are called.
      Obviously this nationwide prison building program... the largest in US history... was not funded by Congress as places for foreign terrorists to go. Terrorists are shot dead or sent to GITMO, you may have noticed.
      No. FEMA forced labor camps are for lazy workshy Americans just as Fatherland Security Prisons aka "concentration camps" were built for lazy Germans dragging Germany's economy down as much work was needed preparing to go to war.
      DHS prisons are for lazy and fraudulent Americans to go to and have a place yo work off their debts to the US taxpayer. For a fact.

      August 30, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
    • Philip

      Already lazy men who choose to live the homeless lifestyle by claiming to be disabled and receiving generous gifts from our National Treasury while spending rent money on things like booze and drugs are being rounded-up and thrown into DHS forced labor camps. Next are Drug Money MDs and lawyers who conspire to defraud US taxpayers by suing US on behalf of lazy men are going to be disappeared inti FEMA camps.
      It's already happening so do nit deny this.

      August 30, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
  4. Just For Fun

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

    December 7, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  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 |
    • Kathy


      December 12, 2012 at 4:56 am |
      • Philip

        True. The Koran commands Muslims to "slay invading infidels wherever you find them"...not that US Christians would not defend their families if Muslims invaded and occupied America.
        The bible commands Christians to love and pray for their enemies...not travel around the world hunting them down and killing suspects. Also, Christians are COMMANDED to have" intense love" for fellow Christians no matter what country they live in. Whereas the Koran commands Muslims to "deal harshly" with "Renagade" Muslims who side with invading infidels like US.
        Really, the Koran rips-off some bible wisdom and mixes in some fairly idiotic things about God, Jesus...even Adam and Eve. Not unlike gangster rappers who rips-off old 60's and 70's tunes and fool young adults inti thinking the rap "song" is original.

        August 30, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
  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 |
    • TheZel

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

      December 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Philip

      However, Muslim men caught raping women are put to death without fail. Contrast Muslim justice for girls and women who are rayped to that of the USA. There are thousands of rayoes in America each year, while only a few in Muslim lands.
      Not to mention shoplifters with one hand still missing.

      August 30, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
    • Philip

      Let alone Muslim nations executing men found guilty of raype while in America rapists go free again. Also shoplifters missing one hand and strong arm robbers like Michael Brown beheaded.
      What woman would trade her rapist being allowed to raype again so that she could vote?

      August 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
    • Philip

      God is not with US, can't you see? Under God's law men who raype women are put to death without fail. And women who are victims of rapists but fail to call out loudly to authorities are dragged outside of city limits and stoned to death.
      And you speak of a woman's right to vote. How trivial.

      August 30, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
  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 |
    • 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 |
  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 |
  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 |
    • 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 |
  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 |
  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 |
  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 |
  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 |
  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 |
    • 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 |
    • 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 |
    • Philip

      Exactly, Joe. Murderous Jews and Christians who are overly medicated and so easily fooled inti thinking that the Israeli MOSSAD are God's little helpers.
      Very very very well put, Joe.

      August 30, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
  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 |
    • Philip

      Exactly. Those 3 trade towers that turned to dust...the two American Airlines jetliners reported a thousand times to have caused two of them to "fall down" weren't even the correct shade of blue AA is famous for. And STILL no official reason has been given by government authorities as to why a third tower was destroyed that day.
      Not to mention Major Media outlets still refuse to show video on TV of something hitting the Pentagon.
      it takes one big fat blind flag waving "patriot not to have figures out by now that it was in fact an inside job.

      August 30, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
  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 |
    • Philip

      Peace is not the absence of war. It is the absence of lazy people and criminals. It is the presence of Love, not the absence of war. Get a clue, old man.

      August 30, 2014 at 9:23 pm |
  17. Philip

    End America's growing rather large Nationwide Obesity Epidemic and save trillions of $. And that's just on pet and child food expenses. Household pets and even children are copy-catting visibly obese adults these days.
    40 years ago there was only one fat kid at my junior high school, big fat Kenny Broughton. A white version of Michael Brown to be sure. Now look.
    What do you think caused our obesity epidemic?

    August 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm |
  18. Emi B

    Can anyone explain to me why, in the Iran deal, U.S. Gives Iran a large sum of money?
    I would like to understand what is going on with deal.
    Thank you

    August 28, 2015 at 1:33 pm |
  19. sidi

    I am asking the whole world about its silence as far as what is happening right now in Burma. It is a genocide and crimes against humanity. The US, The United Nations, The European Union, The Arab League, The Organization of the Islamic Conference are acting as if nothing wrong was happening. A whole community is being wiped out of the face of the earth with the most inhuman ways. The web is flooded of images of children , women and the elderly cooked like pigs, buried alive or mutilated. all this is done in the open, recorded and posted as if they were defying the world. Where is Fareed Zakaria, Nic Roberts or Anderson Cooper who have always been to the hotest spots to bring the new as in happened.. The world's silence is accomplice. The people and government of Burma must be brought to justice or justice taken to them

    September 7, 2017 at 11:14 pm |

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