The House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations will convene today for an oversight hearing to examine the accuracy of cost estimates for the Global War on Terror .
Beginning in September 2001, Congress began enacting supplemental appropriations bills to fund operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, homeland security measures, and various military and intelligence counterterrorism operations. Due to the broad range of facets of the Global War on Terror, the reliability of cost estimates is particularly difficult to gauge.
With barely half of Americans today approving of the global war on terror, and more than one-third believing that the United States is less safe today than before 9/11, the real question lies in the cost of lives and safety that Americans have lost since 2001.
Last month, the Center for American Progress and Foreign Policy magazine teamed up to probe the real cost of the Global War on Terror by surveying more than 100 of America’s top foreign policy experts — Republicans and Democrats from the military, intelligence community, policy teams, academies, and newspapers. The Terrorism Index uncovered a surprising consensus that finds Americans are less safe today than they were before the Global War on Terror.
A bipartisan majority (84 percent) of the experts believe that the United States is not winning the war on terror, 86 percent say that the world is less safe for Americans, more than 80 percent say that we are likely to face a terrorist attack on the scale of September 11 within the next 10 years, and more than half agree that this rising danger comes from Islamic animosity and the war in Iraq.
Experts also have serious concerns about the effectiveness of the national security apparatus that has been funded as an arm of the Global War on Terror. They sharply criticize the United States government’s efforts in numerous areas of national security, including public diplomacy, intelligence, and homeland security. In the survey, the Department of Homeland Security earns an average score of 2.9 out of 10 in its functions related to national security, and more than 80 percent of the experts characterize intelligence reform to date as “fair” or “poor.”
To combat terrorist networks and enhance national security, the experts overwhelmingly suggest increasing the budget for the Department of State (87 percent), reducing dependence on foreign oil (82 percent), and improving intelligence capabilities (76 percent).
Nearly five years after the 9/11 attacks, the United States needs to evaluate where things stand in the war on terror. As the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations meets today, they must look beyond examining the accuracy of cost estimates in the global war on terror to assess the greater human and security costs of war and determine where the money can be best spent.
Read more about The Terrorism Index: