Osama bin Laden repeatedly said that his strategy for defeating the US and driving it out of the Middle East was to bankrupt the US by suckering it into a string expensive of never ending small wars. Osama may be dead, but the US remains locked in a state of perpetual wars abroad and shrinking civil liberties at home.
So was Osama right?
The dismaying debt ceiling spectacle in Congress is revealing in one psychological sense: A clear majority of US politicians now believe (I think incorrectly ) that the US federal government is bankrupt.
On this anniversary of 9-11, in addition to remembering the dead and the sacrifices of the living, we ought to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if America was taken to the cleaners by a Saudi whack job of Yemeni extraction. One way to start is by trying to figure out what kind of cash hemorrhage was triggered by our reaction to Osama’s attack. My good friend Winslow Wheeler has been grappling with this problem, and his answer below is not pretty.
Sanary sur Mer, France
SEPTEMBER 7, 2011
Five Trillion and Counting
by WINSLOW T. WHEELER, Counterpunch
Previously posted with links as an email, Winslow Wheeler: True Cost of Post-9/11 Wars $5T+
Spinney Note : The American economy is bankrupt, or more accurately, it is sitting on the cusp of a debt deflation, because the grossly excessive ratio of private-sector debt to GDP is the proximate cause of the pressure dragging down the economy. If the Federal Government was bankrupt and could not pay its debts, interest rates on treasury bonds would be going through the roof, but those rates are unnaturally low and stable, even though the government is borrowing at a very high rate. On the other hand, consumers and businesses are struggling to pay down debt and the risk of a wave of private defaults, especially consumer defaults, is very high. Moreover, because consumers are not buying, businesses are not investing (including those with strong balance sheets who are sitting on their cash).
Phi Beta Iota: Perpetual war existed long before Osama bin Laden, and the concept of bankrupting an economy by driving it toward idiological idiocy investments is not new either–Ronald Reagan and his advisors used that against the Soviet Union, along with financial crimes and manipulations of extraordinary global complexity. 9/11 was Dick Cheney’s “Pearl Harbor,” and regardless of the who, why, what, and how of 9/11, we now know with certainty that Dick Cheney led the telling of 935 documented lies to drive the Republic to elective wars and create the homeland security and war on terror security state complexes; we now know with certainly that the US taxpayer has borrowed one trillion a year for too many years to pay $50 million per Taliban body in Afghanistan, to revive the Afghanistan opium crop and enrich the Pakistani military that run the #4 heroin processing plants, and on and on. The absence of public intelligence and the absence of public integrity are the root causes of the decline of the Republic. It can be saved. Restoring the integrity of the electoral process, and the integrity of the government, can be accomplished overnight–the public simply needs to want honest and competent government, what one author calls in his free online book, “Integrity at Scale.”