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lies, damned lies
June 9, 2004 6:37 PM   Subscribe

Terrorist incidents actually ROSE in 2003, but the State Department's "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report, issued April 29 (see Appendix G for an easy chart), said the exact opposite. Senior Bush administration officials immediately hailed it as objective proof that they were winning the war on terrorism. The report is considered the authoritative yardstick of the prevalence of terrorist activity around the world. Reports like this one were all over the news in April--will the fact that it was a lie be reported as widely? And can we trust anything this administration says anymore?
posted by amberglow (44 comments total)

 
shit--i used the 2003 cnn article instead of 2004--sorry--here's the right one: International acts of terror in 2003 were the fewest in more than 30 years, according to the U.S. State Department's annual terrorism report released Thursday.
posted by amberglow at 6:39 PM on June 9, 2004


And can we trust anything this administration says anymore?

There hasn't been an administration so completely lacking in any sense of the "truth" since the Imperial Presidency of Richard Nixon. You can trust nothing this Adminstration says, not at face value anyway - they've turned disingenuousness, media manipulation and outright lying-until-confronted-and-even-then-denying-it... Bush may have his supporters and I respect their right to disagree with me regarding his capabilities and his philosophies, but even the most ardent of this Adminstration supporters can't claim that this Administration hasn't raised lying to a new high without appearing to be braindead idiots.
posted by JollyWanker at 6:44 PM on June 9, 2004


will the fact that it was a lie be reported as widely? And can we trust anything this administration says anymore?

you communist america-hating pig. show Our President some respect, you filthy hippie.
posted by quonsar at 6:45 PM on June 9, 2004


Whew. It's a good thing for them that Reagan died this week so that this didn't make it on the news.
posted by graventy at 6:52 PM on June 9, 2004


'Several State Department officials vehemently denied their report was swayed by politics. "That's not the way we do things here," said one senior official.'

Oh, that's the funniest thing I've seen in days.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:07 PM on June 9, 2004


Before - The number of terrorist attacks had dropped to its lowest level in 34 years.

After - The number of significant terrorist incidents increased to its highest level in 20 years.

The State Department's explaination - Clerical errors.

We have a government of asshats. It's an assocracy.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:14 PM on June 9, 2004


"senior official characterized the errors as clerical" .. no doubt it can and will be explained that way, and the fact they are re-releasing it says a lot theres no cover up. Plus responsibility for the report recently shifted from the CIA to the TTIC which screws things up and the report is on "auto-pilot" meaning the definitions are not up to world standards. Overall looks like a case of bureaucracy in action.

The real damage is further erosion of American credibility in the International community. Bunch of amateurs we are.
posted by stbalbach at 7:16 PM on June 9, 2004


Bunch of amateurs we are.

No. just our current leaders. Wait until November to make that claim, please.
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:22 PM on June 9, 2004


Here's Waxman's letter to State last month demanding to know what the fuck. (PDF)
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:38 PM on June 9, 2004


Waxman has been excellent lately, with Halliburton, Condi, this...everything.
posted by amberglow at 7:42 PM on June 9, 2004


Waxman in '08!
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:47 PM on June 9, 2004


And can we trust anything this administration says anymore?

No.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:48 PM on June 9, 2004


Ok...because someone has to do the obligatory Star Wars reference...what with them doing the Lenin - Reagan thing at the capitol:

*waves hands in arcane, yet impressive motion*

These are not the terrorists you're looking for
posted by dejah420 at 7:57 PM on June 9, 2004


"There hasn't been an administration so completely lacking in any sense of the "truth" since the Imperial Presidency of Richard Nixon. You can trust nothing this Adminstration says, not at face value anyway" - JollyWanker - you Reaganite, you.
posted by troutfishing at 8:25 PM on June 9, 2004


Hmm.... perhaps if someone was running against Bush, they could make an issue out of this.

Nah, probably not.
posted by spilon at 8:32 PM on June 9, 2004


You can trust nothing this Adminstration says, not at face value anyway

I recently received two letters from both the Democratic National Committee and their Republican counterpart, both charging that the other party was being run by radical fanatics.

It's our own fault, really. Our nation is in a state of complete denial and defensiveness, where everyone feels that they're right. Something wrong? Blame the other guy!
::sigh::
(completely off-topic) I just saw a chart in the WSJ today showing that Japan is #1 in the world for steel exporting. That tiny little island nation is out-producing the world's richest and most powerful country in the world because we decided that it'd be better to outsource it than to maintain dominance in the steel industry. This country needs a wake-up call, and it wasn't 9-11. At some point, either the EU or China will create a manufacturing base so strong that we will be forced to concede power.

I wish I could continue my rant, but I just came back from a concert and I need some sleep. Maybe I'll come back tomorrow.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:12 PM on June 9, 2004


This world makes my brain hurt.
posted by xmutex at 9:17 PM on June 9, 2004


me too xmutex. Voting makes me feel better tho : >
posted by amberglow at 9:19 PM on June 9, 2004


We have a government of asshats. It's an assocracy.

Kakakracy is the word which the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus once coined, with kaka meaning the same in German as English. It's the shit,
not the ass.
posted by y2karl at 9:26 PM on June 9, 2004


Lying By Reflex
posted by homunculus at 9:54 PM on June 9, 2004


*sigh*

Bush...admin...lied...pissed
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:00 PM on June 9, 2004


This world makes my brain hurt.
posted by xmutex at 11:17 PM CST on June 9


Yes. What to do but try?
posted by four panels at 10:05 PM on June 9, 2004


(completely off-topic) [...] That tiny little island nation is out-producing the world's richest and most powerful country in the world because we decided that it'd be better to outsource it than to maintain dominance in the steel industry.

Top 5 steel producers : China, Russia, Japan, America, Korea.

Forget 'tiny little island nation' - it's the second biggest economy on the planet, with nearly 130,000,000 people. The really good story (and the one that should tweak America, if that's what you're looking for) is that Korea, which really is tiny, and has a population well under 50,000,000, is only very slightly behind America in steel production. [/also offtopic]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:30 PM on June 9, 2004


Japan isn't the second-biggest economy: China is.

CIA World Factbook: In 2003, with its 1.3 billion people but a GDP of just $5,000 per capita, China stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US (measured on a purchasing power parity basis).

And we can all expect China to become the largest economy within the next five to ten years. It has a GDP of over $6 trillion, a debt of only $150 billion, and is currently experiencing deflation at a time wages are overall increasing.

Unless the USA can pull a rabbit out of its hat, it best prepare to be in permanent second position.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:11 PM on June 9, 2004


Japan isn't the second-biggest economy: China is.

Ah, yes. Correct. Japan would now be Number 3. That is, of course, a relatively recent development, and does not in any way detract from my argument. But point taken, nonetheless.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:57 PM on June 9, 2004


If China would float their currency they would shoot past the US in a second. Of course that would kill their artificial manufacturing advantage...

Hmm.. better say something on-topic.

The state dept. said that they needed to stop measuring by nov. 11th in order to get it printed? Anyone else remember how quickly the Patriot act came together?
posted by Space Coyote at 4:12 AM on June 10, 2004


This world makes my brain hurt.

dubyuh's "brain" makes the world hurt.
posted by quonsar at 6:07 AM on June 10, 2004


Top 5 steel producers

Whoops. The graph I saw was referring to the biggest exporters of steel, not producers. I'm annoyed either way, but I'm more sober now, so it's okay.
posted by BlueTrain at 6:10 AM on June 10, 2004


Back on topic -- one thing about this report bothers me; they seem to want to stretch the definition of terrorist attack to get an even bigger, better, "most attacks ever!" number:

For instance, the many deadly attacks on coalition forces in Iraq were not included in the "Patterns" report because they did not meet the State Department's long-standing criteria of targeting civilians or soldiers not on duty.

Attacks against an occupying military force -- even guerrilla attacks against an occupying military force that has declared itself to be at war against terrorism -- don't sound at all comparable to suicide bombings or airplanes into buildings.

While it's clear that the original report was deliberately skewed downwards for political reasons, and while that's incredibly foolish and shortsighted -- it doesn't make sense to now skew it the other direction. This administration could get just as much political play out of that: "Look! Attacks are up! We need the War On Terrah more than ever!"

I'm skeptical anyway of the whole notion of trying to boil this all down to a single worldwide number; it's not a useful indicator of anything, even if you manage to somehow clearly define what a terrorist attack is. Most have purely local causes and local effects -- a drug-business skirmish in Columbia has nothing to do with a Palestinian bombing is unrelated to ethnic tension in Africa has zip squat to do with bin Laden's jihad. In what way is a bar graph that combines all those unrelated elements useful?

More than that, though, the fact that we've come to the point where we can't trust our own evidence -- on terrorism, on our Lysenkoist climate change studies, on the which-report-do-you-trust state of the economy, on the obviously-biased media bringing it all to the voters -- is immensely troubling. It means that as a nation we've effectively got our head up our own collective ass. When businesses start skewing their numbers to tell management or the shareholders what they want to hear, instead of what's actually happening, they fail. Sooner or later, that disconnect from reality causes them to make bad decisions. Governments are no different.
posted by ook at 7:40 AM on June 10, 2004


troutfishing: JollyWanker - you Reaganite, you.

Ah, but then being the Oldest Living MeFite (or something approaching that, quonsar not included, YMMV...), I was taught from the day of JFK's assassination to Trust No Establishment Whatsoever, just as a matter of course. That the Bush administration is the worst I've seen in the thirty-or-so years since Emperor Dick, including Ronnie the Benevolent and his Queen-Concort, Nancy of the Zodiac, speaks volumes and hardly recommends me for being marked with a Description so Foul as "Reagnite"...
posted by JollyWanker at 7:48 AM on June 10, 2004


I love the end of Waxman's letter, "I hope you will give this matter your prompt and thorough attention." BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Yeah, right.

Like Powell's driving this bus anymore.
Like Bush cares what a ranking MINORITY member thinks.
Like the Republicans CARE about the truth anymore.
posted by aacheson at 7:48 AM on June 10, 2004


Next President of the USA:


Dennis Hastert to become President in the event Bush and Cheney both go.

Well... we can but hope!
posted by dash_slot- at 9:06 AM on June 10, 2004


Jesus, Hastert. The guy who lectured John McCain on the need to sacrifice during wartime. What a waste of skin.
posted by jonmc at 9:10 AM on June 10, 2004


Jeez, did he?

Well, all I can say is that I hope the period of time the White House feels chastened is longer than the 30 years from Nixon's exit to today (hoping desperately that this denouement occurs soon).
posted by dash_slot- at 9:23 AM on June 10, 2004


JollyWanker - I was joking, really.

Here, have a laugh :

"Like rats in a trap, they are" - Bush, Cheney indictments in Plame case looming in CIA engineered counter-coup !
posted by troutfishing at 12:48 PM on June 10, 2004


Seems like the State Department has done admitted they were wrong.
posted by fullerine at 12:03 AM on June 11, 2004


"has done admitted", now that is classy.

should be has done a u-turn and admitted they were wrong
posted by fullerine at 12:05 AM on June 11, 2004


"has done admitted", now that is classy.

That would go over just fine here in Texas.
posted by boredomjockey at 1:15 AM on June 11, 2004


Terrorist incidents actually ROSE in 2003,

by 1.46%.
posted by shoos at 5:10 PM on June 22, 2004


State Dept. Doubles Its Calculation on '03 Terrorism Casualties
In revising its annual "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report, the department listed 625 deaths last year from terror-related causes, down from the 725 in 2002, but well above the 307 originally declared in April. It also reported an increase in total terror attacks, to 208, up from the 190 listed in the original report and the 205 in 2002.

The revised report said that 3,646 people were wounded in terror attacks last year, more than double the 1,593 cited in April, and a substantial increase from the 2,013 in 2002.

posted by amberglow at 5:47 PM on June 22, 2004


Terrorist incidents actually ROSE in 2003,

but deaths dropped by 13.8%.
posted by shoos at 9:33 PM on June 22, 2004


Over the past 30 years,

the largest increase in terrorist incidents occurred from 98-99
(+44%)

the largest drop in terrorist incidents occurred from 01-02
(-42%)

A good collection of the annual reports (in pdf)

Do you think Clinton's book is selling so well now because people are eager to learn more about his wily antiterror methods?
posted by shoos at 10:37 PM on June 22, 2004


Maybe terrorism is kind of like orgasm: there's a bit of a refractory period before you can get it up again...
posted by five fresh fish at 11:13 PM on June 22, 2004


FFF: the data is all right there. See how the orgasm model stands up.
posted by shoos at 11:53 PM on June 22, 2004


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