@Don Jefe - Re: Americans safe from... What?
"I realize there are other, non-headline events but the totals are still small: ~14,000 non-military, over a 40 year period, and our responses have been totally disproportionate."
Not only is the response totally disproportionate, but also it comes from governments whose predecessors only a short while back in history didn't particularly care about throwing expendable cannon fodder in huge numbers at an enemy. And over the intervening years their successors have also gleaned little about how to deal with threats to society, their responses to terrorism being similarly brainless.
Nevertheless, by comparison with what past British (and other) governments have done to their own citizens, the number of deaths from and those suffering the consequences of the terrorism of recent years pale in significance. Of course, every death from terrorism is truly significant—in fact an utter tragedy—but look to history to get a reasonable perspective.
We should not forget that before the Battle of the Somme the British Government of 1916 was prepared to sacrifice great numbers of the Nation's youthful pride-and-joy, and it did indeed sacrifice them: on the first day alone just shy of 60,000 British soldiers were relegated to the casualty list. This battle was not only a tragic folly—a catastrophe of which the then British Government was largely culpable but also it was an exercise in utter futility that ultimately claimed about a million casualties, not to mention questionably leaving the British militarily in a worse off position.
It's not only in hindsight, but even at the time that 'righteous' warmongering mongrel, Douglas Haig*, with insufficient oversight from Prime Minster Lloyd George et al, allowed this slaughter when other less ruthless options with fewer tragic outcomes were available. Leaving my biases aside, facts speak for themselves: both Haig and George presided over the worst casualty numbers in a single day in the whole of British military history.
(It seems we forget too quickly: I recall once being at Verdun and being overwhelmed by the scale of the War. After seeing a successive half dozen or so crosses with ages of 21 and below on them I looked up only to see many hundreds of thousands more crosses through an arc of 270°. Seemingly, many have forgotten that the Great War and WWII—at least for many of the infantrymen and others who fought in them—were about freedom, defending a way of life, and to live in peace without being dominated by totalitarian governments. That we've now to fight this war again, albeit politically, but this time, tellingly, from within the borders of our own country is profoundly depressing.)
"Nearly every action taken to 'win' the War On Terror has only succeeded in increasing the level of fear in those who are supposed to be being protected."
There's little doubt that what our governments are now doing in response to terrorism is on the road to totalitarianism. Furthermore, they're both manufacturing consent and acceptance for their actions through the propaganda of fear—generating fear in a nation or society has always been an instrument for gaining power and control. Moreover, since 9/11, not only have they done nothing effective to ameliorate the concerns of those who ultimately become terrorists but also they've become impervious to the genuine concerns of their own freedom-loving citizens.
Tragically, it's easier to spend trillions on surveillance than to tackle the root of the problem, and we citizens are now sufficiently complacent to let governments get away with it. (Frankly, I despair at the general acquiescence of the citizenry. Presumably, the propaganda of fear and the sense that it's all too big and hopeless for an individual to do anything about must be working—and, no doubt, this is just what the power-hungry want and are very glad to hear.)
'Tis wishful thinking but I'd rub the noses of those responsible for the loss of our freedoms on those crosses until they hurt. Then again, it is unlikely those who are taking advantage of the tragedy that's terrorism would have the wit or sensibility to appreciate why some citizens are prepared to die for democracy and freedom.
* I've always loved Scotch but I've never knowingly drunk Haig whiskey on principle.