As we stand in line for security checks at airports, we may have the distinct feeling that we are being herded like cattle. Air travel has changed, and has become distinctly less pleasant, since the fear of terrorism replaced the fear of communism as the excuse that governments give for diverting colossal sums of money from desperately needed social goals to the bottomless pit of war. Innocent grandmothers, and their grandchildren, are required to remove their shoes and belts. Everyone is treated like a criminal. It is a humiliating experience. We may well feel like dumb driven cattle; and the purpose of the charade is not so much to prevent airliners from being sabotaged as it is to keep the idea of terrorism fresh in our minds.
Is the threat of terrorism real? Or is it like the barking of a dog driving a herd? The threat of climate change is very real indeed. The threat to future global food security is real too. Already 11 million children die every year from malnutrition and poverty-related causes. The threat to human civilization and the biosphere posed by a possible Third World War is real. The threat of exhaustion of non-renewable resources and economic collapse is real. The dangers associated with our unstable fractional reserve banking system are also real. Beside these all too real threats to our future, the threat of terrorism is vanishingly small.
Millions starve. Millions die yearly from preventable diseases. Millions die as a consequence of wars. Compared with these numbers, the total count of terrorist victims is vanishingly small. It is even invisible compared with the number of people killed yearly in automobile accidents.
Terrorism is an invented threat. Our military industrial complex invented it to take the place of the threat of communism after the end of the Cold War. They invented it so that they would be able to continue spending 1,700,000,000,000 dollars each year on armaments, an amount almost too large to be imagined.
So the people, the driven cattle, have been made to fear terrorism. How was this done? It was easy after 9/11. Could it be that the purpose of the 9/11 disaster was to make people fear terrorism, so that they could be more easily manipulated, more easily deprived of their civil rights, more easily driven into a war against Iraq? There is strong evidence that many highly placed governmental figures knew well in advanced that the World Trade Center would be attacked, and that they made the disaster much worse than it otherwise would have been. This evidence is available on the Internet. Here are a few links:
Are we being driven like cattle into another war, by another fake threat? Is Iran really a threat? It is a country which has not attacked any of its neighbors for a century, although it has frequently itself been attacked. Israel has 300 nuclear weapons, and the US has many thousand, yet they claim that Iran’s civilian nuclear program is a threat. Is it a real threat, or are we being driving, like cattle, by a false threat.
The precipice towards which we are being driven is very dangerous indeed. There is a real danger that a military attack on Iran could escalate uncontrollably into World War III. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, we should remember that this catastrophic conflagration was started as a limited operation by Austria to punish the Serbian nationalists, but it escalated uncontrollably
The Middle East is already a deeply troubled region, and it is a region in which the US and Israel cannot be said to be universally popular. Might not an attack on Iran initiate a revolution in Pakistan, thus throwing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons into the conflict on the side of Iran? Furthermore, both China and Russia are staunch allies of Iran. Perhaps they would be drawn into the war. At the very least, China would certainly do economic damage to the US by means of its large dollar holdings. Furthermore, much of the world’s supply of oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz. A conflict in the region would probably stop this flow and send petroleum prices through the roof. The economic consequences would be disastrous.
Let us stop being driven like cattle by invented threats. Let us instead look at the very real dangers that threaten human civilization, and do our utmost to avoid them.
One can herd cattle, but one cannot herd lions. As Shelly said, “Ye are many. They are few.”
John Scales Avery, Ph.D. is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent book is http://www.learndev.org/dl/Crisis21-Avery.pdf.