Fort Benning is a military base in Georgia several hours from where I live. We pass through there on occasion on our trips west, and we have been known to stop at the Peachtree Mall there in nearby Columbus. I do my best to be observant , and strolling around the Peachtree Mall last time we were there, I noticed something; missing limbs. Over and over again I saw young men in their 20's that were missing legs and arms, casualties of our military expenditures overseas.
That got me to thinking. Let's say, just for arguments sake, that there really was this incredibly savvy, well-funded global network of terrorists out there. Let's say this imaginary group had sleeper cells and training camps and state support, in other words, all the sort of things we have been told to worry about. This phantom organization of steely-eyed jihadists decided to finally bring the West to its knees, and they plannedd on doing so by detonating a variety of devices in the 10 most populous American cities (New York, Los Angeles ,Chicago, Houston,Philadelphia, Phoenix,San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose) and to do it all in one day. This gives them a potential target pool of 23,831,986 people.
This assumes a lot of things. This assumes that they actually are trying to kill people as opposed to simply creating terror. After all, as recent events show, you can potentially bring an entire American city to martial law with some modeling clay and an alarm clock with a bunch of wires sticking out of it. You need not produce a working device to get the job done. In fact, you don't even need savvy steely-eyed jihadists, you can have incompetent boobs as your front men, and the knee-jerk reactions of the American police state will terrorize for you. But I'm getting off the topic.
So our crack unit of terrorism types, seething with hatred at how 'free' we are, decide to attack the 10 largest cities in America. Let's also say that they chose as their definition of success the attacks of September 11, 2001 in which around 3,000 people perished. Ten attacks in ten cities with a casualty count of 3,000 per city. Now even a public school graduate like myself can figure out that the body count, were they successful ( and why wouldn't they be?) would be around 30,000 people.
That would be horrifying. That would be terrifying. That would be heartwrenching. That would surely shut the mouths of those silly libertarians and their rants about the 'Constitution'. That would also be 0.001% of the population of those cities.
While our bearded terrorists chortle with glee in their caves at their historic accomplishment and await the surrender of the evil west, let us consider that the death toll in Iraq of U.S. military personnel is over 4,000 and when you count the losses in Afghanistan, you wind up with around 7,000 dead American military personnel. Now the cost of war doesn't stop there, as we have to address the 32,000 or so wounded, some of whom are limping around the Peachtree Mall as we speak. If we are really being intellectually honest, we have to factor in the over 300 journalists that have been killed, the almost 1,500 contractors that have died and the 300 plus other coalition troops that have been killed, and the 100,000 Iraqis that have been wounded.
Then there are the 'bad guys'. The US government's track record with drones has been horrific, with some organizations reported that over 80% of the deaths from drone attacks are innocent bystanders. This policy, accompanied with our occupation of Iraq has produced a mountain of bodies somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.4 MILLION men ,women and children. Add this all up and you get a very conservative estimate of 1,541,000 dead or wounded as a result of our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan (not counting Libya, Syria, etc).
Now let us rejoin our world-class terrorists in their cave. Despite being at the top of their game, with a sinking feeling they realize the desperation of their cause. While they spent all their time and all their resources to score an unparalleled victory over the west, they would have to do this same event 48 times in a row to equal the sheer rivers of blood our misguided foreign policy has accomplished. They could never hope to cause the grief and sorrow or inflict the damage that we have done to ourselves and the countries we've invaded in the last 10 years. They wipe away tears at they come to the full realization that , in the world of real terror, they are just rank amateurs.