Dem Mantra of More Deaths By Terror Under Bush Disproven
By: Warner Todd Huston
A new independent study shows that deaths from terrorism have actually declined by more than 40 percent since 2001. This flies in the face of the constant Democrat mantra that states the opposite, that terrorism has increased since Bush initiated the War on Terror. It is a mantra that the media have helpfully spread for their friends at the DNC.
We’ve heard it again and again from the left in this country; deaths by terror have increased under George W. Bush and his War on Terror has failed. Along with so many on the left side of the aisle in the U.S., Barack Obama has said this several times in the past, too. At the Democratic debate at Saint Anselm College on Jun 3, 2007, for instance, Obama said that Bush’s war has failed. “We live in a more dangerous world,” Obama said on that stage, “partly as a consequence of Bush’s actions…”
Of course, this talking point ignores one small bit of common sense. When a battle is joined, casualties are sure to rise until an end is declared. After all, when both sides are joined in battle (as opposed to but one), deaths are sure to rise before they fall, it being always darkest before the dawn, and all.
But that bit of common sense aside, the Democrats have been fond of using a study by Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, research fellows at the Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law, to prove that terrorism is worse under Bush. In fact, this study appears right on Obama’s own website in an entry by one of his bloggers, Deb Henry.
Bergen and Cruickshank claimed to have found a 607 percent increase in terrorism since 2003. They defined terrorism as an act of violence, or the threat of violence, calculated to create an atmosphere of fear and alarm. They didn’t just count actual deaths and attacks, but added threats to their statistics. Who cannot see that such a method would wildly inflate the numbers?
But the new study by Simon Fraser University in Canada tells a far different tale than the favorite lefty study.
First of all, they found a major flaw in past studies.
The reason that the NCTC, MIPT, and START global fatality tolls rise so dramatically after 2003 is because all three datasets are counting a large percentage of all civilian fatalities from intentional violence in Iraqâ€™s civil war as deaths fromâ€œterrorism.â€ For example, NCTCâ€™s estimate for fatalities from terrorism in Iraq in 2006 is 13,343. This is nearly 80 percent of the total Iraqi civilian fatality toll of 16,657 for that year as estimated by the independent US organization, icasualties.org.
…But they are unusual because counting the intentional killing of civilians in civil wars as terrorism,” as all three datasets do, is a sharp departure from customary practice. As Ohio State Universityâ€™s John Mueller has noted: â€œWhen terrorism becomes really extensive in an area we generally no longer call it terrorism, but rather war or insurgency.â€ Moreover, as a July 2007 US Congressional Research Service report noted, NCTCâ€™s Iraq data are â€œlargely the product of sectarian violence, rampant criminal activity, and home-grown insurgency–[and therefore] grossly distort the global terrorism picture.â€
As reported by the Moblie Press-Register, Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria wrote in praise of the study that “it ‘makes no sense’ to count civilian casualties in a war zone as deaths caused by terrorism, Mr. Zakaria wrote. Since the mid-1990s, thousands of civilians have been killed in war zones in other countries around the world, and those victims weren’t counted as casualties related to terrorism.”
Other polls also support the claim that the world is not “more dangerous” since the war on terror began.
A 2002 Pew Research Center poll of Muslim countries found alarming levels of support for al-Qaida and its tactics. In Lebanon, for instance, 74 percent of the respondents said they believed suicide bombing was justified.
Four years later, Pew polled again in Muslim nations and discovered very different attitudes. The percentage of people in Lebanon who said they thought suicide bombing was justified had fallen to 34 percent. In Jordan, support for suicide bombing plummeted 20 points between 2002 and 2007.
Such polls show a sharp decline for support of terrorism in the Muslim world since the invasion of Iraq. “Obviously, the war didn’t fuel extremist views in Muslim countries,” as the Press-Register notes.
Even more amazingly, this new study finds a 65 percent decline in terrorist attacks since 2004.
There has been an â€œextraordinary, but largely unnoticed, positive changeâ€ in the sub-Saharan African security landscape, with the number of conflicts being waged reduced by more than half between 1999 and 2006, and the combat toll dropping by 98 per cent.
A decline in the total number of armed conflicts and combat deaths around the world also continues.
All this seems to explode that old the-world-is-more-dangerous myth that the Democrats have promulgated for the last six or seven years. Chances are the media will not talk much about this study, the Democrats will continue on as if it never happened, and Bush Derangement Syndrome will continue unabated.