Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thank God We're Winning the War on Terror 

. . . because you wouldn't want to see the numbers if we weren't. Our one-and-onliest colleague Avedon Carol recently linked to a BTC News analysis of the "Terrorism Knowledge Base," which is compiled by the RAND Corporation under a contract from the Department of Homeland Security. The TKB data is now on view in the form of easily digestible bar-graphs at Carpe Datum:

Terrorist Incidents Per Year, Both Domestic and International (Including Iraq):

Terrorist Incidents Per Year, Within the U.S. Only:

From Observer's commentary on the graphs above:
Correlations do not mean causations. Just because the terror rates have risen overall or shrunk domestically doesn't mean Bush necessarily was the cause. But there is obviously reason to believe that what we're doing is exacerbating the problem, thanks largely to the War in Iraq.

We won't know for sure just how bad Bush has made the problem for decades. Right now, it is entirely possible that some kid in Iraq just got his parents shot up by a stressed-out soldier for no good reason. What if for the next 30 years he dedicates his life to revenge and sets off a big bomb here in the year 2036? By then, it'll be too late to blame it on Bush.

I guess my point is that it is very difficult to use statistics like this to prove anything. However, the administration loves to tout them (selectively) when they try to measure their success in the War on Terror, so that makes them fair game. A better measure, though, is common sense. And that means asking what the hell we went into Iraq for and why. To me, the question of "Are we safer?" puts the burden of proof on those who want war, not on those who oppose it.

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