Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Fear Is The Patriot's Sword

9 Though I'd not intended to write about it, the American Progress Report in my e-mail today reminded me that last week the State Department had
"...decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered."
The report, titled "Patterns of Global Terrorism", is self-described as a "Congressionally-mandated report from the U.S. Department of State intended to provide a full and complete record for those countries and groups involved in international terrorism." Some officials explained this abrupt cessation of publication by saying that the statistical methodology had been faulty, but the Washington Post went on to say:

"...the U.S. intelligence officials said Rice's office decided to eliminate "Patterns of Global Terrorism" when the counterterrorism center declined to use alternative methodology that would have reported fewer significant attacks.
The officials said they interpreted Rice's action as an attempt to avoid releasing statistics that would contradict the administration's claims that it's winning the war against terrorism. "
The problem was that the stats looked bad--they indicated an increase in terrorist attacks over the previous year from 175 "significant incidents" to 625 from 2003 to 2004 (God, what a quote-ridden post!), which stats didn't even include attacks on American troops in Iraq--and after Dear Leader had identified Iraq as a "central front in the war on terror" just last week. Things weren't going so well for the Chimp, in spite of the draconian homeland security measures, the illegal war, the riding roughshod over other peoples' national sovereignty and endless attempts at bullying and intimidation on a worldwide scale.

But why bring it up now? Well, some folks in Congress uttered plainly uncooperative noises about the info shutdown (I know, I know) for a week after the release of the announcement, until finally Bushco dispatched some damage control in the form of aides to proffer up some patently bullshit excuses. As the Post reports today:

""Last year was bad. This year is worse. They are deliberately trying to withhold data because it shows that as far as the war on terrorism internationally, we're losing," said Larry C. Johnson, a former senior State Department counterterrorism official, who first revealed the decision not to publish the data.
After a week of complaints from Congress, top aides from the State Department and the NCTC were dispatched to the Hill on Monday for a private briefing. There they acknowledged for the first time the increase in terrorist incidents, calling it a "dramatic uptick," according to participants and a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.)."
Did I tell you Waxman is my hero? Check out his Minority Office Committee on Government Reform. But as the Dead Milkmen said, that's another story.
"Both Republican and Democratic aides at the meeting criticized what a GOP attendee called the "absurd" explanation offered by the State Department's acting counterterrorism chief, Karen Aguilar, that the statistics are not relevant to the required report on trends in global terrorism. "It's absurd to issue a report without statistics," said the aide, who is not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. "This is a self-inflicted wound by the State Department."
Aguilar, according to Hill aides, told them that Rice decided to withhold the statistics on the recommendation of her counselor, Philip D. Zelikow. He was executive director of the Sept. 11 commission that investigated the terrorist attacks on the United States."
That's the Zelikow who was a political failsafe appointed to the Commsission by Bushco to ensure his friends were not too badly singed by the results of the Commission's findings.

The point is this: after all Bush's cock-of-the-walk strutting and puffing about how scary everything was and how he was going to keep us safe with his authoritarian big daddy schtick, what did we get? What anyone with two neurons to rub together could have, and did, predict: more terror! I give you this post from yours truly, back in December, on The Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication, released in September 2004 by the Department of Defense. And what did it say, for those of you too busy to look at a link?

"Short version: We went in like a bunch of ham-handed neanderthals, ruined what little we had going for us, and managed to make a dangerous situation damn near inflammable."
The report simply eviscerates the big fucking War on Terra. All we managed to do was alienate allies and piss off the people we were supposed to be winning over to our way of doing political business. And is this a surprise to anyone who even vaguely understands cause and effect? This is what comes from out anti-intellectual mission to elect people who don't frighten us with their ability to outthink us; we keep putting evil morons in place who couldn't find their asses with both hands and a flashlight, then lie to us straight-faced about the results, for the sake of "national security".

As the original post says, go here if you want to read the Defense Dept. report. It's long and it will take time, but what else do you have? It's not like you're running the country or anything. Not even via your elected officials.

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