What’s more threatening, terrorism or environmental issues?

August 20, 2006 | By | Reply More

Is terrorism really the biggest threat facing the United States?

TomPaine.com recently commented on a report of the libertarian Cato Institute arguing that terrorism

is really just not that big of a threat to the average person. For instance, about as many Americans have been killed by terrorists as have been “killed over the same period by lightning, accident-causing deer, or severe allergic reaction to peanuts.” What’s more, many WMD threats are overblown and largely preventable.

To read the Cato Institute report, click here.  The report concludes that “any damage terrorists are able to accomplish likely can be absorbed, however grimly.”  Tompaine.com commented on other Cato Institute findings:

Bush administration’s War on Terror hasn’t made us one lick safer. Because, while we’ve been duct-taping our windows, fighting an unjustified war and pouring money into porkbarrel anti-terrorism, we’ve essentially ignored both common-sense moves—like better port security and coordination among local police and the FBI—and very big, well-documented threats, from the climate crisis to the weakening of the global public health system and the rise of epidemic disease to the destruction of New Orleans.

The Cato report also points out “an obvious truth” that much of what makes modern societies insecure is that which “is unsustainable about them.”   For this reason, “sustainability is a national security priority. Perhaps the national security priority.”

Neither the Bush Administration nor the U.S. mainstream media is emphasizing environmental concerns over terrorism.  How could it be that environmental issues are actually more pressing than terrorism?

If scientists are correct, far more people have already lost their lives from the direct and indirect effects of climate change than terrorism. The health effects of sprawl, car accidents, chemical spills, environmentally influenced cancers: all of these things are probably bigger threats to the lives of average Americans than terrorism. Certainly preventable disease, unnecessary hunger, solvable poverty and environmental degradation  already cause far more death and suffering in the world than any terrorists ever could.


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Category: American Culture, Environment, global warming, Health, Iraq, Politics, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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