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White House: Skyrocketing terrorism = “great progress”

Nobody paid any attention a couple of weeks ago when I reported last year’s rather startling increase in worldwide terrorism. The data, compiled by the RAND Corporation and available to the public at tkb.org, showed that, worldwide, the sum of “international” and “domestic” terrorist attacks increased by more than 50% between 2004 and 2005. So, I went to the White House today and asked Scott McClellan for his take. This was my question:

According to data currently available at the Department of Homeland Security-funded Terrorism Knowledge Base, the incidence of terrorism increased markedly in 2005. Worldwide, attacks were up 51% from the year before, and the number of people killed in those attacks was up 36%. Since the year 2000, attacks are up 250% and deaths are up 550%.

How do you reconcile those numbers with your claim that you are winning the war on terrorism and putting terrorists out of business?

Scott’s reply:

Well, just look at the facts, Eric. If you look at the facts, many of al-Qaeda’s known leadership have been put out of business. They’ve been brought to justice. They’ve either been captured or killed. No longer is America waiting and responding. We are on the offense; we are taking the fight to the enemy. We are engaged in a war on terrorism. The enemies recognize how high the stakes are, and one of the things that the President will talk about, will continue to talk about in the coming weeks, is that we continue to face a serious threat. This is a deadly and determined enemy. The difference is, now, that we’ve got them on the run. We’ve got them playing defense. We’re taking the fight to them, and all of us in the international community must continue to work together. We’ve been fortunate that we haven’t been hit again since the attacks of September 11th. That’s in no small part thanks to the great work of our men and women in uniform abroad, and because of the great work of our intelligence community, and the great work of our homeland security officials here at home, who have worked together using vital tools like the Patriot Act, and other tools to help disrupt plots and disrupt attacks, and there’s great progress being made. The President made it clear after September 11th that this was going to be a long war, but he’s going to continue acting, and leading, doing everything in his power to win that war so long as he is in office. And we also have to work to continue to advance freedom, and 2006 [sic] was a year of progress when it came to advancing freedom around the world. The Middle East is a dangerous troubled region, and that’s why it’s important that we continue to support the advance of democracy throughout that region.

I wonder, is it really true that “we haven’t been hit again” since 9/11? What would Bob Woodruff’s kids say about that? Or the families of the 19,597 soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan? What would Jill Carroll say?

3 comments to White House: Skyrocketing terrorism = “great progress”

  • gary1

    Don’t think just because there weren’t comments that “nobody paid any attention”.

  • Dale

    Thanks Eric.

    You are right – this received NO real play on the net or in the news. We like to think that blogs can push a story but only if the “big” blogs decide it’s worthy.

    I posted it to a few forums. Few replies. Buzzflash posted it although with a rather dull headline for Buzz. It was posted in the comments to a Kerry post at Kos and he didn’t say a peep when he was on TV the next day.

    Fact remains, liberals couldn’t find an issue with BOTH hands.

    here’s another one they are blind to…

    It’s just child torture involving the underbelly of conservatism – something some say they want to expose…

    http://alternet.org/story/31000/

    http://www.alternet.org/story/27725/

  • Nathan Matthews

    Thanks Eric for putting this question to Scotty. I think I’ll use his exact same resoning when I’m talking to my credit card companies. “I know I’m going deeper and deeper in debt, but that means that I have to pay you less and less, since obviously I’m winning the war on consumerism and punative interest rates.”

    I posted a link to your entry on my diary at Daily Kos and I asked Norm at onegoodmove.org to put a link to this entry on his main page.