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SIX PROPOSITIONS PowerPoint PPT Presentation

JOHN MUELLER OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY SIX PROPOSITIONS RATHER UNUSUAL ABOUT 1. Seen in reasonable context, terrorism generally has only limited direct effects Worldwide chances of being killed by international terrorism over a lifetime: 1 in 80,000

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SIX PROPOSITIONS

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JOHN MUELLER

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

SIX

PROPOSITIONS

RATHER UNUSUAL

ABOUT


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1. Seen in reasonable context, terrorism generally has only limited direct effects


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  • Worldwide chances of being killed by international terrorism over a lifetime:

    1 in 80,000

  • Worldwide chances of being killed by a comet or asteroid over a lifetime:

    1 in 80,000

  • Chances of an American being killed if there were one 9/11 in the U.S. every three months for the next five years:

    2 one hundreds of one percent


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Concerns about terrorism, 2001-2006

How worried are you that you or someone in your family will become a victim of terrorism? Very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not worried at all? (CNN/US Today/Gallup)Percent very worried or somewhat worried.

How likely do you think it is that there will be another terrorist act in the United States within the next few months: very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely, or not at all likely? (CBS News) Percent not at all likely.


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2. The costs of terrorism very often come mostly from the fear and consequent reaction (or overreaction) it characteristically inspires


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Bin Laden goal: overreaction

It is easy for us to provoke and bait....All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin...to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al‑Qaeda in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses. Our policy is one of bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. The terrorist attacks cost al‑Qaeda $500,000 while the attack and its aftermath inflicted a cost of more than $500 billion on the United States.


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Bin Laden goal: fear

America is full of fear, from its north to its south, from its west to its east. Thank God for that.


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The costs of fear

  • Economic

    Travel and tourism

    Waits in airports

    International commerce restrictions

  • Human life

    Driving after 9/11

    Waits in airports

    Health effects, Chernobyl

  • Opportunity costs

    Katrina

    Vaccines

    Crime

  • Wasteful and counterproductive policies

    Iraq

    Generating Muslim hostility

    The quixotic quest for invulnerability


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3. The terrorism industry is a major part of the terrorism problem.


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  • Politicians

  • Bureaucracy

  • Media

  • Risk entrepreneurs

The profits of doom


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--Department of Homeland Security

Today's terrorists can strike at any place,

at any time,

and with virtually any weapon.


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Now putting your child on a school bus or driving across a bridge or just going to the mall—each of these things is a small act of courage. And peril is a part of everyday life.

--Charles Gibson, ABC News, September 11, 2006


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--Michael Ignatieff, 2004

  • we can confidently expect that terrorists will attempt to tamper with our election in November

  • a few individuals equipped with lethal technologies threaten the ascendancy of the modern state

  • inexorably, terrorism, like war itself, is moving beyond the conventional to the apocalyptic


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4. Policies designed to deal with terrorism should focus more on reducing fear and anxiety as inexpensively as possible than on objectively reducing the rather limited dangers terrorism is likely actually to pose


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New York

Washington, DC

Chicago

Los Angeles

San Francisco

Houston

Seattle

TARGET CITIES


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Philadelphia

Boston

San Antonio

Arlington

Sacramento

Portland

Dallas

Milwaukee

Pittsburgh

Fort Worth

Phoenix

Anaheim

Santa Ana

Oakland

San Jose

Indianapolis

Honolulu

Atlanta

Tampa

Long Beach

Denver

San Diego

Charlotte

Jersey City

Las Vegas

Buffalo

Newark

Cincinnati

Oklahoma City

Cleveland

Toledo

Louisville

Baton Rouge

Baltimore

Detroit

Minneapolis

New Orleans

Kansas City

St. Louis

Omaha

Miami

Jacksonville

TARGET CITIES

New York

Washington, DC

Chicago

Los Angeles

San Francisco

Houston

Seattle

COLUMBUS


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80,000

THE QUEST FOR TARGETS


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John Athanason, Weeki Wachee marketing and promotion manager:

“I can’t imagine bin Laden trying to blow up the mermaids.”

“But with terrorists, who knows what they’re thinking.”

“I don’t want to think like a terrorist, but what if the terrorists try to poison the water at Weeki Wachee Springs?”

Athanson said Weeki Wachee Springs is working to get some of the federal counterterrorism funding that has been allocated to the Tampa Bay region by the Department of Homeland Security.

--St. Petersburg Times, April 22, 2005


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Police

Nuclear

Seek to reduce fear

Absorb

Put risks in context

Explore security theater

Avoid policy overreaction

Reassess the quest for invulnerability


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Potential public policy projects

Airport security—costs, risk comparisons, costs of waiting

Economic impact of terrorism response

Is a repeat of 9/11 possible?

Health impact of terrorism response—the costs of anxiety

Value of security symbols (theater?)—visible, nonvisible

Hardening potential targets (M. Stewart)

Determining potential targets (malls? bridges?)

Costs and value of relocating personnel (Army)

Determining acceptable radiation levels for dirty bombs (cleanup costs, property value)

Enlisting ordinary people as emergency responders or health workers

Risk communication—can accepted fears be reduced? Sunstein, Slovic

Cost and other comparisons with anxieties about crime (property values)

Costs and value of exit visas

International economic effects—immigration, commerce, tourism, travel

Value of security cameras, if any

Costs of increased border waits

Evaluation of the air marshal program


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Potential public policy projects

How has DHS determined risk?

Assessment of DHS expenditures

Incentives to increase fears

Value and costs of police at subway entrances

9/11’s impact in reducing spending and increasing saving

Impact of terrorism on charitable giving

Opportunity costs—health service, crime

Terrorism and other instances of probability neglect

Democracy, security, and the pork barrel

Efforts Hollywood and television to exploit fears of terrorism (24, WTC)

The media and terrorism

Terrorism reporting (compare to crime or health reporting?)

The incentives for politicians, bureaucrats to exaggerate the threat

The cost and effectiveness of policing efforts

The fate of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation on getting responders to be able to communicate with one another and the communications industry

The war in Afghanistan and the war on drugs

Fear of terrorism and political outbidding


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Potential public policy projects

Policing terrorism—costs and effectiveness

Insurance opportunities

Costs and effectiveness of data mining

Comparisons with policing domestic Communism (Stephan and “Communazis”)

Potential value of repeated terror warnings on reducing fear (cry wolf)

Assessment of official predictions about the imminence of another attack

Impact of terrorism warnings on politics, on Bush’s approval ratings

Getting computers to work at the FBI and NSA

Costs and value of heightened border security

Costs and effectiveness of the US-VISIT program

Tradeoff between policing terrorism and policing crime

Opportunity costs of the war on terrorism (health, Katrina)

Security barriers in panic situations

Comparing terrorism to other risks (lightning, astroid impact, eating nuts, deer)

Reasons for the remarkable absence of terrorism in the US since 9/11

Costs and value of requiring passports to go to Canada, Mexico

Costs and value of training security guards


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5. Doing nothing (or at least refraining from overreacting) after a terrorist attack is not necessarily unacceptable


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  • Lebanon 1983

  • Lockerbie 1988

  • Somalia 1993

  • World Trade Center 1993

  • Oklahoma City 1995

  • Khobar Towers 1996

  • U.S.S. Cole 2000

  • Anthrax 2001

  • Madrid 2004

  • London 2005


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6. Despite U.S. overreaction, the campaign against terror is generally going rather well


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The United States is living on borrowed time‑‑and squandering it.

How much security is enough: when the American people can conclude that a future attack on U.S. soil will be an exceptional event that does not require wholesale changes in how they go about their lives.

The entire nation...must be organized for the long, deadly struggle against terrorism.

--Stephen Flynn


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The greatest threat is from al-Qaeda cells in the US that we have not yet identified.

al-Qaeda maintains the ability and the intent to inflict significant casualties in the US with little warning.

That threat is increasing partly because of the publicity surrounding the DC sniper shootings and the anthrax letter attacks.

al-Qaeda has developed a support infrastructure inside the US that would allow the network to mount another terrorist attack on US soil.

I think, therefore they are, 2003

--Robert Mueller February 11, 2003 testimony


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The greatest threat is from al-Qaeda cells in the US that we have not yet identified.

al-Qaeda maintains the ability and the intent to inflict significant casualties in the US with little warning.

That threat is increasing partly because of the publicity surrounding the DC sniper shootings and the anthrax letter attacks.

al-Qaeda has developed a support infrastructure inside the US that would allow the network to mount another terrorist attack on US soil.

I think, therefore they are, 2003

--Robert Mueller February 11, 2003 testimony


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2005

I remain very concerned about what we are not seeing. (bolded)

I think, therefore they are,

unable to identify a single true al‑Qaeda sleeper cell anywhere in the country

--FBI, secret report, 2005

--Robert Mueller February 16, 2005 testimony


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2007

We believe Al Qaeda is still seeking to infiltrate operatives into the U.S. from overseas.

--Robert Mueller January 11, 2007 testimony


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19 in US before 9/11?

9/11 effect, Afghanistan

many arrests (overseas)

reactions to post-9/11 terrorism

al-Qaeda’s vast enemies list

  • all Middle Eastern regimes

  • Muslims who don't share their views

  • most Western countries

  • Jews

  • Christians

  • the governments of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia

  • most news organizations

  • the United Nations

  • international NGOs

amount of destruction


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Charles Krauthammer, 2004: “three years in which, contrary to every expectation and prediction, the second shoe never dropped”

Graham Allison, 2004: “in the weeks and months following 9/11, the American national security community focused on what was called the question of the 'second shoe.' No one believed that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were an isolated occurrence”

Lockerbie 1988

Oklahoma City 1995

Aum Shinrikyo 1995

DC sniper 2003

WWII

But WWI, WTC 1993

9/11: aberration or harbinger?

In our recent Western history war has been following war in an ascending order of intensity; and today it is already apparent that the War of 1939-45 was not the climax of this crescendo movement.

--Arnold J. Toynbee, 1950


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THE END


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