Terrorism Threat Overblown

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9/11 was a nightmare but security and political analyst John Mueller says we should have snapped out of it by now. As bad as terrorism is, he charges, America's overblown reaction to it has been worse.

It has worsened our finances, with billions spent on defenses for sites that will never be attacked, our global standing, as a war response feeds the image of a rampaging America, and worsened our own liberties and reasoned state of mind, says Mueller. These factors have contributed to what he calls "the terrorism industry," which works to keep the nation in a perpetual state of fear.

Critics say come on. Mueller says "No, really."

This hour On Point: making the case that we are driving ourselves crazy over terrorism.

Quotes from the Show:

"Since 9/11 the amount of damage done by Al Qaeda types and wannabes has been only 200 per year outside of war zone." John Mueller

"The terrorism industry is working naturally by playing on the fear of 9/11 and exacerbating it." John Mueller

"I've always felt that this war on terror has allowed us to miss on the real causes of terror in our society ... such as urban violence." Listener from Connecticut

"It is the very successes of the Bush administration that has made terrorism less of a threat." Listener from Boston

"In terms of the central propositions, [John's] book is more wrong than right." Graham Allison


John Mueller, Chairman of the National Security Studies Department at Ohio State University and a professor of political science. He is author of "Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them.";
Graham Allison, Professor of Government and Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

This program aired on March 5, 2007.


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