Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Losing the War on Terrorism?
By Guest Blogger - Charles Wilhelm

I constantly hear grumbling from the liberals that the United States is losing the war on terrorism, most recently from a coworker who referenced a recent report from Reuters covering the State Department's revision of the number of international deaths from terrorist activities in 2003. The annual "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report originally listed the total as 307 deaths, but has been increased to 625.

International terrorism killed 625 people last year, more than double the 307 deaths the Bush administration cited in a faulty report used to argue it is winning the war on terrorism.

The errors in the annual "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report have embarrassed the administration and dented its claim that Washington is prevailing in the war on terrorism, a key part of President Bush's re-election strategy.

On the surface, I see how this could be construed negatively, but let's look at the bigger picture here, shall we? The very same Reuters article states the 2002 total was 725 deaths. The number of fatalities decreased by a hundred and we are losing the war on terrorism? Also note that every one of these deaths is outside the USA. Not one of these killings took place on American soil, and yet we are losing the war on terrorism?

Just as a comparison, consider the number of homicides in the city of Chicago in 2003. According to an MSNBC report from January, Chicago finished the year with 599 homicides. Just one American city managed to have nearly as many murders on its streets as terrorism claimed in the entire world. In fact, according to the article, this was the first year since 1967 that the total has dropped below 600 for Chicago. Add to that the number of murders elsewhere in the USA during 2003 and you'll find it's not the war on terrorism that we are losing, it's the war on crime.

In my mind, the single biggest indicator that the war on terrorism is at least somewhat successful is the fact that there have been no further attacks within America's borders since September 11, 2001. We've been able to intercept some would-be attackers, we've disrupted some of their cells, and many terrorist leaders have been killed or are on the run. We must not lose our focus in this endeavor because there does not seem to be any place for a free America in a radical Islamic world. We can and will win this war.


At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do have a have a question about the figures... Both the "incorrect" and the "corrected" ones. How does these figures compare to other causes of death internationally? (I.e. car accidents, falling off boats and historical monuments etc.) Because this number taken out of context does sound pretty bad but when you campare it to say the number of Americans that die in car accidents every year it seems "not so bad"



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