(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

BY WEN YAN AND STEVEN SPARKMAN


You're watching multisource US video news analysis from Newsy. 

 

Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. While some in the media focus on the day’s political and emotional significance, others are looking at the cost of homeland security.

 

CNBC asks the question -- what did the attacks cost the United States?

 

EAMON JAVERS: "On September 10th of 2001, the Dow Jones industrial average stood at 9,605 and the United States that summer posted its second biggest budget surplus of all time. Of course now a decade later, a widely gyrating stock market stands above 11,000 and the United States faces an epic budget shortfall. All of that raises the question -- did Osama Bin Laden succeed in his goal of crippling the U.S. economy?"

 

It’s difficult to figure out exactly how much money has been spent on counterterrorism and war efforts in the last decade. Economist Joseph Stiglitz tried to tally it all up in a book he co-wrote three years ago. In a column on Project Syndicate, he writes -- back then...

 

“...the conservative tally was $3-5 trillion. Since then, the costs have mounted further. With almost 50% of returning troops eligible to receive some level of disability payment, and more than 600,000 treated so far in veterans’ medical facilities, we now estimate that future disability payments and healthcare costs will total $600-900 billion.”

 

The New York Times puts the costs at $3.3 trillion. But correspondent David Sanger says the real costs of the 9/11 decade come in the form of missed opportunities.

 

“Less than a trillion dollars of the $3.3 trillion was for direct responses -- including toppling the Taliban. But what if at least some of the remaining $2 trillion plus had been spent on other, longer-range threats to American national security? Rebuilding a broken education system? Finding more imaginative ways to compete with China? Reducing the national debt?”

 

With the U.S. government facing tight budgets, all of that spending is suddenly under scrutiny. Analysts are asking -- was it worth it? Political Scientist John Mueller tells CBC -- the U.S. has spent a lot of money for very little payoff.

 

JOHN MUELLER: “Unless they can demonstrate that they have deterred, protected against, or foiled thousands of plots per year, the money simply is not justified by using conventional cost-benefit analysis.”
ADRIENNE ARSENAULT: “How many Times Square-type attacks a day would they have had to have foiled to make the trillion-dollar spending worth it?”
MUELLER: “Four.”
ARSENAULT: “Four?”
MUELLER: “Yeah, four a day.”

 

Aside from the amount of money being spent, the Guardian says the U.S. is also paying the cost of lost oversight. After 9/11, money flowed into national security with no questions asked, and the article says that lack of control adds up to less accountability for government spending.

 

“Oversight of contracting is weak or opaque -- and is often contracted out, too. One recent investigation found $4.5bn of contracts awarded to firms with a history of problems or which had violated laws. A federal audit found an oil firm had overcharged the Pentagon by $204m for fuel in Iraq.”

 

But in a column for the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer takes aim at the emerging narrative. He says defense spending was not an overreaction, and the proof is in the results. For one thing, it put al Qaeda on the ropes. For another...

 

“In the end: 10 years, no second attack (which everyone assumed would come within months). That testifies to the other great achievement of the decade: the defensive anti-terror apparatus hastily constructed from scratch after 9/11 by President Bush, and then continued by President Obama. Continued why? Because it worked.”


Transcript by Newsy. 

What Has Counterterrorism Cost?

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Sep 10, 2011

What Has Counterterrorism Cost?

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

BY WEN YAN AND STEVEN SPARKMAN


You're watching multisource US video news analysis from Newsy. 

 

Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. While some in the media focus on the day’s political and emotional significance, others are looking at the cost of homeland security.

 

CNBC asks the question -- what did the attacks cost the United States?

 

EAMON JAVERS: "On September 10th of 2001, the Dow Jones industrial average stood at 9,605 and the United States that summer posted its second biggest budget surplus of all time. Of course now a decade later, a widely gyrating stock market stands above 11,000 and the United States faces an epic budget shortfall. All of that raises the question -- did Osama Bin Laden succeed in his goal of crippling the U.S. economy?"

 

It’s difficult to figure out exactly how much money has been spent on counterterrorism and war efforts in the last decade. Economist Joseph Stiglitz tried to tally it all up in a book he co-wrote three years ago. In a column on Project Syndicate, he writes -- back then...

 

“...the conservative tally was $3-5 trillion. Since then, the costs have mounted further. With almost 50% of returning troops eligible to receive some level of disability payment, and more than 600,000 treated so far in veterans’ medical facilities, we now estimate that future disability payments and healthcare costs will total $600-900 billion.”

 

The New York Times puts the costs at $3.3 trillion. But correspondent David Sanger says the real costs of the 9/11 decade come in the form of missed opportunities.

 

“Less than a trillion dollars of the $3.3 trillion was for direct responses -- including toppling the Taliban. But what if at least some of the remaining $2 trillion plus had been spent on other, longer-range threats to American national security? Rebuilding a broken education system? Finding more imaginative ways to compete with China? Reducing the national debt?”

 

With the U.S. government facing tight budgets, all of that spending is suddenly under scrutiny. Analysts are asking -- was it worth it? Political Scientist John Mueller tells CBC -- the U.S. has spent a lot of money for very little payoff.

 

JOHN MUELLER: “Unless they can demonstrate that they have deterred, protected against, or foiled thousands of plots per year, the money simply is not justified by using conventional cost-benefit analysis.”
ADRIENNE ARSENAULT: “How many Times Square-type attacks a day would they have had to have foiled to make the trillion-dollar spending worth it?”
MUELLER: “Four.”
ARSENAULT: “Four?”
MUELLER: “Yeah, four a day.”

 

Aside from the amount of money being spent, the Guardian says the U.S. is also paying the cost of lost oversight. After 9/11, money flowed into national security with no questions asked, and the article says that lack of control adds up to less accountability for government spending.

 

“Oversight of contracting is weak or opaque -- and is often contracted out, too. One recent investigation found $4.5bn of contracts awarded to firms with a history of problems or which had violated laws. A federal audit found an oil firm had overcharged the Pentagon by $204m for fuel in Iraq.”

 

But in a column for the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer takes aim at the emerging narrative. He says defense spending was not an overreaction, and the proof is in the results. For one thing, it put al Qaeda on the ropes. For another...

 

“In the end: 10 years, no second attack (which everyone assumed would come within months). That testifies to the other great achievement of the decade: the defensive anti-terror apparatus hastily constructed from scratch after 9/11 by President Bush, and then continued by President Obama. Continued why? Because it worked.”


Transcript by Newsy. 

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