Sunday, May 13, 2007

Global terrorism reaches new highs

I'm beginning to sound like a broken needle. I've been blogging for two years about how the war in Iraq has actually caused an increase in terrorism. I'm not talking about a slight uptick, I'm talking about exponential increases! To get a sense of the scale to which terrorism has grown around the world since the Iraq invasion, it's worth reading about the war president Bush loses.

Each year, the U.S. Department of State releases a report on the incidence of global terrorism. Under Bush's leadership, the news was consistently so bad that his administration even changed the name of the report. Condi recently released the latest report, now called the Country Reports on Terrorism 2006.

This awkwardly named report has some awkward statistics for those who think we're defeating terrorism in Iraq. After substantial increases in global terrorism year after year since the war there began, it turns out that there were again 25 percent more terrorist attacks in 2006 than in 2005. Those attacks killed 20,494 people -- a forty percent increase over 2005. Ironically, fifty percent of those killed by Islamic terrorists were other Muslims, with more than 1,800 of them children.

So how accurate are these statistics? It should come as no surprise if it turns out they're understated. After all, this is the same administration that claims sectarian violence is down in Baghdad since the 'surge.' However, it turns out that U.S. officials exclude car bombs in touting this drop in Iraq violence. The number of people killed in explosive attacks is actually up from 323 in March, the first full month of the security plan, to 365 through April 24.

Faced with these facts, Bush would certainly pull out his old line that 'we're fighting the terrorists in Iraq so we don't have to fight them here.' This is a fallacy easily dispelled. Just last week, six men described by federal prosecutors as "Islamic militants" were arrested on charges they plotted to attack the Fort Dix Army base and "kill as many soldiers as possible," authorities reported. Let's be clear, Fort Dix is not a base in Iraq, it's in New Jersey. None of the six Islamic militants are from Iraq, and they had been in the U.S. for some time.

No, the war in Iraq is not making us safer from terrorism. With global terrorism at an all-time high, it's leading to much greater danger of us suffering more terrorist attacks here in our homeland.

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