I remember when the “War on [Some] Drugs” was first declared (about a year after I graduated high school) speculating (to myself) that it was more about bringing the new drug smuggling channels under the control of the US security apparatus so they could identify, and perhaps turn, Soviet agents among the new class of importers and dealers, many (most?) of whom were disillusioned Viet Nam vets.
Then, when the numbers of users and small-time dealers who were being sent to prison started floating into newspaper (and sometimes TV) stories, I speculated (again, only to myself) that perhaps one goal was to create a large population of formerly disaffected people whose personalities had been permanently brutalized and therefore ripe for gang recruitment.
The most disturbing thing about this idea was the notion that people capable of controlling (or at least influencing) US national policy had reasons to create a large population of personality-warped gangsters.
More recent revelations suggest that another major motive might have been to fund “black” operations that didn’t have to be reported to Congress because no Congressionally approved funds were used.
(In the ‘70’s and ‘80’s I assumed, as AFAIK most people did, that “black” money was available for whatever these people wanted to do. And indeed, this may have been true until the efforts to bring the US “intelligence/security” apparatus under Congressional control started cutting those funds off.)
By analogy (admittedly always suspect) perhaps the purpose of the “War on Terror” was/is to create a pool of terrorists under the control of agents already in place, which could be used in Western countries in controlling the general populations. And, perhaps, as a smoke screen for more targeted operations.
It’s important to remember that such military and quasi-military efforts seldom work perfectly: incompetence, conflicting agendas, and wishful thinking often combine to produce very different results than intended. Still, it’s always worth keeping in mind that whatever results occur may have been intended, by subset of the people involved if not all.