On April 29 the Bush administration released Patterns of Global Terrorism Report claiming that terrorism fell in 2003 to its lowest since 1969. However, on Thursday the State department released a statement saying that the data in the report was incorrect. The correct data shows that terrorism attacks rose by 36 percent in 2003, the highest level in 20 years.
When the report was released in April, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage hailed the report as evidence that the Bush administration’s actions have resulted in fewer terrorist attacks saying that "you will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight [against terrorism]."
Armitage went on to say that "unprecedented collaboration between the United States and foreign partners to defeat terrorism."
Thursday’s press release by the State Department acknowledged that "the data in the report is incomplete and in some cases incorrect."
If the incorrect data was evidence that the actions of the Bush administration are winning the "war on terror", does that mean that the correct data shows that we are actually losing the "war on terror" and that the actions of the Bush administration are resulting in more terrorist attacks around the world?
The Bush administration response to such an inquiry is that the "war on terror" is an ongoing struggle and that they never claimed the "war on terror" was over. Basically, they don’t want to admit that they have once again misled the American public and that in fact their actions have seemingly done more to further the cause of terrorists than hinder them.
The correct data on terrorist attacks shows that there has been an increase in terrorist attacks every year since 2001. It seems impossible to draw a conclusion that the Bush administration actions over the past three years has made it more difficult for terrorists to launch attacks. The data is clear, terrorist attacks have not been reduced but have increased.
The irony is that when the Bush administration took office they were supposed to be the administration that had their act together – the CEO’s were in charge. No more days of the Clinton pizza boxes in the Oval office and the White House resembling a fraternity; the Bush team were professionals who were thorough and on top of things.
In the last three years they have been wrong more than they have right. They were wrong in their strategy against Al-Qaida prior to September 11, they missed the warning signs and almost 3,000 Americans paid with their lives. They were wrong about Saddam Hussein’s stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. They were wrong about the connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. They were wrong about the ease of invading Iraq, installing a democratic government, and watching democracy spread throughout the Middle East. They were wrong when they said "Mission Accomplished" and told the country the war was over, just ask the hundreds upon hundreds of soldiers who died since May 2003 and the countless (because we don’t count them) Iraqis that have been killed.
Come to think of it, I can’t think of anything they were right about.