WASHINGTON -- The State Department has decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.
Several U.S. officials defended the abrupt decision, saying the methodology used by the National Counterterrorism Center may have been faulty, including incidents that might not have been terrorism.
In last year's report, the number of incidents in 2003 was undercounted, which forced a revision of the report, "Patterns of Global Terrorism."
But other current and former officials charged that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's office ordered "Patterns of Global Terrorism" eliminated several weeks ago because the 2004 statistics raised disturbing questions about the Bush's administration's frequent claims of progress in the war against terrorism.
"Instead of dealing with the facts and dealing with them in an intelligent fashion, they try to hide their facts from the American public," said Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and State Department terrorism expert who on Thursday first disclosed the decision to eliminate the report.
A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed that the publication would be eliminated, but said the allegation that it was being done for political reasons was "categorically untrue."
According to Johnson and U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the issue, the National Counterterrorism Center reported 625 "significant" terrorist attacks in 2004. The 2003 figure was 175.
The totals didn't include attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, which President George W. Bush as recently as Tuesday called "a central front in the war on terror."
By law, the State Department was required to publish "Patterns of Global Terrorism" and circulate it to Congress by April 30.
A report on global terrorism will be sent this year to lawmakers and made available to the public in place of "Patterns of Global Terrorism," but it will not contain statistical data, said a senior official.
I agree that attacks on troops in a war zone aren't acts of terrorism, they're acts of war. The insurgent's aren't Michael Moore's Minutemen, they're a collection of regime dead enders and largely sunni extremists. When they go after civilians, then they're using terror. When they're attacking US troops they're using force against armed combatants, ie waging war.
As for the report and ideas of progress in the war on terror, I don't know if one is related to the other. I.e. terrorist attacks have multiplied in some countries while dramatically decreasing in others.
Bottom line: The war on terror will end the same way as the war on drugs. With a whimper and not a roar.
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The "war on terror" is much the same a "the war on drugs".
Both are largely illusory and exercises in hysteria and misdirection. Both focus on the symptom as the bogeyman, while largely ignoring the causes. Promoters of both "wars" tend to lie about the real causes so that the rationale for their "wars" won't be questioned.
And both are ultimately un-winnable.
But they're an easy sell to a populace that has been conditioned to crave simplistic, black and white apparent solutions to complex problems.
Good On Ya G.A.
I long for the day that complexity is not considered a fault and that anti-intellectualism dies its deserving death. Very few people consider education as an advanced option anymore. It's always a means to an end (a trap I'm stuck in as well, I'm afraid...)
I agree also that the attacks on troops are not terrorist attacks, but what I find funny is that there are people saying "we're fighting terrorism, and winning" and saying that terrorism is way down, and then when a report comes out with stats on terrorism that show a dramatic increase in the number of attacks, they cancel it.
The report excluded the incidents on the troops and still came up with 625. It's a classic example of killing the messenger. Report the good news and hide the bad. Just like the "media ban" on reporting of funerals of American servicemen killed in Iraq. It's propaganda. Who to trust?
As for terrorism, any solution depends on removing the fodder for the extremists - the abject poverty, the desperation unpon losing a loved one as a result of a foreign intervention, etc. etc. We're currently just fueling the circle. The problem is that there is disproportion of effect. One terrorist attack requires billions of dollars of counter-measures. Cue Dr. G. and his cost of war stats....