If CIA Director Leon Panetta is correct and al-Qaeda has been reduced to a tiny remnant http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100627/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_us_afghanistan why are we spending nearly a trillion dollars a year on defense, intelligence, and homeland security?  The justification for the doubling of the US government budget over the past eight years has been the need to fight terrorism.  Do the terrorists really pose a serious threat or has this all been a sophisticated con job?  I doubt if anyone in Washington really thinks that terrorism is the major or even one of the major problems confronting the United States, but the money continues to flow.  I would suggest that the way we think about terrorism and what we call terrorists is at fault, creating the type of narrative that empowers those who wish to do us harm in a way that has induced our leaders to over-react (possibly deliberately in the case of those who aspire to the imperial presidency).  In any event, the war on terror or whatever it is being called these days is an enormous federal government money pit that should be shut down immediately.