Friday, June 11, 2004

 

Whoops, sorry we got that one TOTALLY WRONG

As widely reported, the US State Department has retracted a report on terrorism that erroneously claimed that terror attacks were down in 2003 from 2002. According to the Guardian:
The Patterns of Global Terrorism report said terrorist attacks fell to 190 last year, the lowest figure since 1969, from 198 in 2002. It also said the number of people killed dropped to 307, including 35 US citizens, from 725 in 2002, a total which included 27 Americans.

State department spokesman Richard Boucher said the 2003 figures were likely to be higher than the report suggested, though the number of deaths may not exceed the 2002 figures. He explained that the writers of the report appeared to have made a series of mistakes including failing to count attacks for the full year and possibly misinterpreting the definition of such attacks.
Of course, the State Department has denied any suggestions that the fraudulent report was some sort of deliberate attempt to aid Bush's reelection campaign (which, coincidentally, is counting on it's image of being effective against terrorism and strong on national security).
Richard Boucher, State Dept. spokesman: "The data in the report is incomplete and in some cases incorrect. We got the wrong data and we didn't check it enough ... That's the simplest explanation for what happened." Yes, very simple, thank you Richard. Of course, it didn't hurt the administration to hail the "incomplete and incorrect data" as "clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight" (Richard Armitage). But wait; let's hear from Sec. of State Colin Powell: "Nobody has suggested that the war on terrorism has been won. The president has made it clear that it is a war that continues and that we have to redouble our efforts." Quite so - nobody suggested that we had won, only that we were prevailing. Which is, of course, the catch-22 of the whole terrorism thing - if news is good, we are prevailing, Bush is a courageous leader against terrorism and has made the nation safer. And if the news is bad, well, nobody has suggested that we have won. Nobody said it would be easy, but just think of how bad it would be if Bush weren't waging a valiant struggle against terrorism. Increased violence must be evidence that the evil terrorists are desperate dead-enders can sense their imminent defeat. Either way, Bush can spin this. Still, it's nice to have a little bit of fodder to throw back against the "Bush makes us safer" argument.

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