Terrorism is extremely affordable, according to a new report released by NPR. In fact, terrorism is downright cheap.
Richard Barrett was part of a United Nations team charged with computing the costs of terrorism, that is, charged with figuring out how much money terrorism actually costs to carry out.
The results on the cost of terrorism were surprising.
In 2006, when Germany held the World Cup, an act of terrorism was narrowly averted. Two men carrying hidden bombs in their suitcases boarded a train in Cologne. The terrorism bombs weren’t terribly complex, consisting of a propane tank, batteries, an alarm clock and a bottle filled with gas, but they were powerful enough to cause excessive damage.
“These suitcases were meant to blow up a train and clearly that would have created a huge amount of damage and public anxiety and so on for very, very little cost,” Barrett said about the terrorism attempt.
The estimated cost of the bombs? 500 bucks. One of the terrorism suspects actually used part of his tuition money to pay for the terrorism attempt.
It just shows you that terrorism attacks do not have to cost the $500,000 or $400,000 that people believe 9/11 cost.
Even larger terrorism attacks are relatively cheap. For example, the terrorism attack on the London transportation system in 2005 that kiled 57 people and injured hundreds more was estimated to cost around fourteen grand.
“It was self-financed,” Barrett said. “One of the guys was relatively well off, his family was relatively well off, and I think he may even have been a teacher as well, so he had a salary coming in.”
More terrorism implements: a suicide bombing vest is only about $1,200. A car bomb can run between $13,000 and $20,000… it all depends on the make and model of the car.
So what does the affordability of these terrorism attempts mean? It means that a terrorism group like ISIS, that has an estimated two billion dollars in its coffers, is only limited to its acts of terrorism by the number of people it can convince to carry them out.
“To allow a terrorist movement with global aspirations to fester, regroup, gain resources, and strategize is a prescription for disaster in the 21st Century,” says Juan Zarate, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Bush advisor on counter-terrorism. Interviewed by CBS News, “That’s what we’ve seen in Syria and Iraq for years now,” he said about Mideast Terrorism.