George Orwell would savor this

What an example of doublespeak.

The United States said that terrorist activity in the world increased sharply last year with the number of attacks and dead more than tripling but that it was winning the global “war on terror.”

Sorry if I’m stupid, but I would think the proof of our winning the “war on terror” would be a decline in terrorism, not a huge spike upward. But then, we are dealing with an administration that never makes mistakes, never does anything wrong and never fails. So what can they say? If Osama nuked half the urban centers in America, we’d still say we were winning. Does anyone actually believe it, though?

The Discussion: 13 Comments

Wasn’t it called the flypaper strategy or somesuchlike? More attacks may be happening ELSEWHERE, but not so in the States, so they’re winning. Er, right?

April 27, 2005 @ 7:21 pm | Comment

Like many of us I have been info-saturated with regards to “terror” But no one seems to know why the United Staes has not been attacked directly since 9/11.
I am not claiming GW’s policies are effective..we all have heard/read the unending crtiscism of his tactics and strategy but there is the odd possibility, as unpleasant as it maybe to some, that he is doing something “right”
By the way some very OLD business…Months ago you were upset because a Marine committed suicide by cop..he was being sent back to Iraq.
CBS News, a few days after the killiing, reported that the Marines claim he was being sent to Okiniwa and the police claim he had gang affilations. IF true, that does put a rather different spin on this ONE incident.

April 27, 2005 @ 8:12 pm | Comment

Al Qaeda is notoriously patient. They waited nearly 10 years between the two WTC attacks. Meanwhile, their attacks (or those from related organizations) in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Spain, Iraq and elsewhere have flourished.

After 911, we bolstered our security at airports and around potential targets (Las Vegas, NYC financial district, etc.). I give Bush no special credit for doing what had to be done and what any president would have had to do in the wake of 911. This has made a repeat of 911 extremely difficult but again, I give no special credit to Bush. If he had been competent, 911 would never have happened, and the report by Richard Clarke, “Al Qaeda Determined to Strike Within the US” wouldn’t have gathered dust, unread, on Condoleeza Rice’s desk. No, I give them credit for very little.

While improving security at least marginally (documented instances of how easy it is to get a box cutter through the TSA checkpoionts are plentiful) , intelligence remained where it was or even got worse, as we saw in Iraq, where we were promised by Tenet that finding the WMDs would be a piece of cake. Aluminum tubes, Niger uranium, chemical weapons depots — all fruits of a broken intelligence machine.

We have had some much-heralded announcements of halting terrorism before it struck, but in just about every case it turned out the threat was exaggerated by the Justice Department or another agency. Ashcroft would rush to hold an ostentatious press conference, and as the days passed we’d discover it was a lot of noise over nothing.

Terrorism has tripled worldwide according to our own new report. The Iraqi insurgency is as strong today as it was a year ago, despite arrogant assurances by a US general earlier this year that we had “broken the back of the insurgency.” Thjings are now are back to normal in the US, but I don’t think the nervous peace is due to any special achievement of our government’s post-911.

We are once again in a lull; perhaps it will never happen again. Perhaps the terrorists achieved their goals: We have swelled the ranks of al Qaeda, turned many in the Middle East into active haters of America, suffered huge loss of life on 911 and we stand humiliated and impotent in our inability to keep bush’s unfortunate promise of getting Osama “dead or alive.”

So this is a complex issue, and just pointing to Bush’s muy macho attitude isn’t enough. (That’s reminiscent of those who insist Reagan single-handedly ended the Cold War, which is painfully simplistic.) 911 occurred because Ashcroft and Condi and others refused to listen to the evidence in front of them, Ashcroft famously requesting anti-terrorism funding actually be reduced for more important things. I give them zero credit except for acting in an inspiring manner on and after 911 (though Clinton would certainly have done much better), and then letting it all fall to pieces by bogging us down in Iraq at the expense of our true target, OBL.

Our ports and nuclear power plants and refineries are as vulnerable now as they were before. You can still get a gun or a knife onto a plane. But no one would ever try that now, because in the post-911 world it would be all but impossible to highjack a plane, since the passengers would simply storm the highjackers knowing they had absolutely nothing to lose.

Sorry if this rambled; it’s been a 14 hour work day today. If someone wants to claim Bush did something that stopped terrorism, I’m willing to listen. But I want to see the proof.

April 27, 2005 @ 9:04 pm | Comment

I thought the proof of George Bush’s terror strategy was the fact that, since 9/11, there has been not a single foreign-sponsored terrorist attack on American soil. Which makes Bush (1 attack) less successful than Clinton, and every administration since Pearl Harbour.

April 27, 2005 @ 10:14 pm | Comment

Oops, there was the FIRST attack on the WTC, so it’s not quite as I described.

April 27, 2005 @ 10:17 pm | Comment

There is NO such thing as an invulnerable target to a “trained terroist” We could and should do better but we can see in the example of Israel with their competent secuity apparatus and armed soldiers everywhere, that even they are vulnerable. (Though the wall/fence seems to have helped quite a bit in reducing attacks prior to Arafats death.)
Lets say the US was to abandon Israel, withdraw from Iraq , Saudi Arabia, etc etc, indeed become a non entity in the world..would we be less hated then? Would Usama still want to destroy us?
Would appeasment work?
( I am NOT suggesting YOU are saying that is what we should do, I am curious as to what YOU would do in regards to our relationship with the Arab/Muslim world.(.Yes, i know, most Muslims are not Arab).

April 27, 2005 @ 10:41 pm | Comment

Think Andrae is right, though cynical. Since all those terrorists are buissy going to Irak, they don’t have time to vistit the US.

April 28, 2005 @ 2:07 am | Comment

RMH, I am strongly opposed to appeasement of any kind. That’s why we should have focused on OBL and never given him the breaks that allowed him to slip away. In the case of iraq, there would have been no appeasement if we had never invaded — since there were absolutely zero weapons and zero threat, there was aboslutely nothing to appease! Sadly, at this point if we left it would be an act of appeasement, hecause we would be leaving the Iraqi people under a terrible threat in part created by our bungled invasion, the bloodthirsty and intolerable insurgency. So we can’t just pick up and leave, and we can’t just stop defending Israel, an essential strategic ally (though we shouldn’t always cave tho their whims). Im regard to your theoretical question of whether OBL would still seek to destroy us if we did pull out and stopped supporting Israel, I would say probably. He could claim his goals were achieved, he could claim victory. Of course this is absurd as it will never happen. We aren’t leaving the Middle East anytime soon, though if we did, it would not, as you say, tutrn us into a “non-entity.” We are plenty strong and have plenty of influence around the world without being in Iraq or Saudi Arabia.

April 28, 2005 @ 8:32 am | Comment

“Osama nuked half the urban centers in America, we’d still say we were winning”

No, no, no – you have it all wrong.

If Osama nuked half the world, we’d call him *Desperate* 🙂


April 28, 2005 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

More appropriately Richard, BushCo. lies. It is nothing to them to claim “winning the war on terrorism” even while untrue.

April 28, 2005 @ 11:32 pm | Comment

The problem here is not so much “doublespeak” as a dispute in statistical methodology. Counter-terrorism analysts have often insisted on a narrow definition of that term that excludes most attacks by insurgents or criminal groups. Force protection and Embassy security analysts, however, have an inclusive view that lumps virtually every form of violence by non-military groups as terrorism. The state department report alluded to appears to be inclusive. I have not reviewed this latest edition, but past editions would list virtually every guerrilla attack in Latin America that targeted foreign nationals or interests, even when such actions were obviously not meant to elicit a response from the United States, and in some cases arose from such mundane causes as labor unrest. Perhaps this is more of a case of Bureauspeak. Then again, you have to remember that the real end users of this report are embassy security personnel, not policy wonks or military counterterrorism personnel.

April 29, 2005 @ 1:25 am | Comment

TonyB, great link!! Desperate indeed.

Lirelou, thanks for the as-always intelligent perspective. It would have been less suspicious if the Bush people themselves weren’t so evasive about what’s actually going on in their so-called WOT. As you probably know,, when an annual government report on terrorism recently reported that terrorism had increased, not decreased (as originally and errorneously reported) the Bushies implemented a simple and foolproof solution: they ordered there be no more annual report. Creative.

April 29, 2005 @ 7:53 am | Comment

From today’s news, seriously:

“We see these attacks as another desperate attempt by the terrorists to discredit the newly formed Iraqi government,” U.S. military spokesman James Drake said in a statement. He confirmed several car bombings took place in the capital, without giving their location or casualties.

April 29, 2005 @ 1:14 pm | Comment

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