Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A "War on Terror" Paradox

Report: Global terrorism up more than 25 percent

I am sure this was not the current administration's desired headline when plans were being drawn to invade Iraq and conduct a global "war on terror." The state department recently released a report saying the that global terrorist attacks have increased to over 14,000 and been responsible for the deaths of nearly 20,000. To be fair, those number include the statistics for Iraq as well. I don't have the current numbers, but I am sure that those numbers have grown exponentially since the war on terror began and sought to eliminate terrorist activity.

The report goes on to say that the militants are finding safe havens along the Pakistan - Afghanistan border and also are beginning to establish sanctuaries in Iraq. Concerning the Pakistan - Afghan border, the report blames most of the terrorist stronghold on the deal Pakistani leaders made with with border tribal leaders and their unwillingness to live up to the agreement and deny shelter to suspected Islamic Militants. The Iraqi war has diverted us from our primary mission of destroying the Taliban and Al-Quaeda militants it housed and created a chaotic environment that the militants have preyed on.

The report also cited some successes last year including the foiled plan to blow up several trans-Atlantic airliners and the fact that no major terrorist events occurred in Europe for the entire 2006 year. While minimal, the successes are worthy ones to be noted and the fact does remain that there have been no major attacks in the U.S. since 9/11. Is the "war on terror" working? It depends on if you define "working" as a global issue or domestic one. I think I know how most Iraqi civilians would define it...


Faisons6 said...
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Faisons6 said...

I had similiar feelings on the State Department's Annual Terror Report. However, the utility of such a report, especially given the nature of what it seeks to accomplish feeds sensationalized media and does little, in fact runs antipose, in helping our government find realistic solutions to countering worldwide terror.
The report atttributes Iraq as the core reason the for the increase in worldwide terror incidents. If we agree that a Global War on Terrorism is ridiculous, then this report is ridiculous.
What utility does it provide? Popular media takes one number, the total deaths worldwide of a loosely defined "terrorist act" criterion, which somehow wraps all the worlds problems into this realm. If we really want to propel this idea of a "Global War on Terrorism", well sadly, the State Departments report feeds right into it.

I like details and the idea that regional problems, trends, and issues require regional analysis and solutions. For this, the report identifies two real trends. First, worldwide terrorist incidents, excluding Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Sudan are DOWN. Especially in SE Asia. Hummm...perhaps efforts in utilized in SE Asia (especially non-force efforts like Tsunami Relief, delicately placed and minimal US troop presence) are really working.

Second, what are we doing in Africa and if we are doing something, what aren't we doing right that would cause this increases in terror incidents?

These are the things I think we all should be focusing on. Squandering this report's utility with a spotlight on Iraq's high terror rates is a waste, after all, what would one expect, its an insurgency and major combat action.

Faisons6 said...

Perhaps you should change your name to "smoke on the water".