Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Terrorism Statistics??? Over stating terrorism deaths.

I find myself looking forward to George Bush’s and his Administration’s departure and perhaps a breath of fresh air. Do I hope for too much? Can McCain be that breath? Will he surround himself with wiser council than Bush? Does he see the folly of misreporting terrorism related deaths to the American people? Or, will he continue to talk down to us?

Recently it took a Canadian University’s study of terrorism deaths to wake up a few of us that continue to “drink the kool-aid” of the Liberal Left and from the Bush Administration. This study suggests what was previously obvious in other studies, that you don’t count civilian war deaths as terrorism deaths. Historically this has always been the case. Why the change now? Who does it benefit?

Canada’s Simon Fraser University in an independent study came to the conclusion that death from terrorism is on the decline, and has been since 2001! They attribute this to the Global War on Terrorism and the lack of support from Muslims to terrorist groups because of terrorist tactics (this is not to say that many Muslims don’t support the causes of terrorist organizations). The data used in these studies does not include Iraq civilian war casualties like US government backed studies do. In many of the US backed studies Iraq can account for more than 50% of the total deaths. This makes no sense. Iraq is a war zone, and while the tactics and organizations suggest terrorism, by definition terrorism can’t really happen in a war zone. Now this flies in the face of the Bush Administration’s characterization of the conflict in Iraq. The Administration likes to call insurgents terrorists. But they are not. They are insurgents using terrorist tactics and belonging to terrorist organizations. When these insurgents step foot on a battlefield in a war zone they are no longer terrorists.

This seems like some kind of procedural or scholarly caveat and rather if it walks and quacks like a duck it should be a duck, but this small caveat is massively important in understanding the conflict in Iraq and putting it in proper context. Fighting insurgency the way you fight terrorists is part of the problem. It has taken years and many unnecessary deaths for us to begin to figure this out. US backed studies from the National Counterterrorism Center, the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terror and the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism all suggest that the civilian deaths in Iraq are terrorist related. Why? I can only think that it is to continue to sell the war. It is to continue to scare you into support (you should support the war, but not because of terrorism deaths). The Bush Administration talks down to us and supposes we can not handle the truth, that Energy Security is paramount to the survival of the West and Developing Nations, instead we continue to get these numbers that one has to read-between-the-lines for the truth.

The ever dangerous and under accounted for “un-intended-consequence” is that the Administration has given the Liberal Left ammunition to attack the efforts in Iraq on dubious grounds. Now Liberal Presidential candidates can suggest that we are less safe since the invasion of Iraq. According to a broad reading from the government backed agencies reporting on terrorism statistics we appear to be less safe. But getting into the metrics we actually see that unless you live in Baghdad or Falujah American’s are actually more safe not less.

So who does this benefit, the Republicans, the Administration or the Liberal Left? The answer is all three. Republicans and the Administration get to over-state the security situation of the United States and the Liberal Left gets to suggest that we are “less safe” because of the Bush Administration’s Iraq efforts and the Global War on Terror. It is a win-win for politcians and governments that want more power and a lose-lose for citizens that want accurate information and a real understanding of national security. So to be clear, the efforts in Iraq and the Global War on Terror have not made us less safe but have made us more safe. Despite politicians and statisticians best efforts!