News You Won't Hear: Terrorism Is Down Almost Everywhere


Turkish, Pakistani and Afghan leaders sign a pact to fight terrorism
Good news is no news, at least when it comes to the war on terrorism.

On Monday evening, the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism showing a number of interesting findings, including steep declines in terrorist attacks and murders in many regions of the globe. That has not been the lede story in America's liberal media, however. Instead, they've chosen to focus their attentions on how terrorism has increased in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

That's not entirely unjustified. Both of those countries have significant amounts of American troops in them (although I doubt that the left-wing French or German press, say, is covering this any differently). What has been unacceptable, however, is the American press's complete ignoring of the rest of the State Department's numbers.

Instead of saying that terrorism has increased markedly in Iraq (the truth), the media are extrapolating beyond that to claim that, as Reuters puts it, "U.S. sees sharp rise in global terrorism deaths."

Once you get past the lede of these Reuters and Associated Press pieces, you'll discover the small detail that the increase in terrorism was almost entirely due to Iraq. Nowhere in either piece do you learn the fact that aside from the Middle East (which does not include Afghanistan according to State), the number of terrorist attacks worldwide is down from a year ago by over 300 incidents. The number of deaths from terrorism was only up 14 percent.

In other words, the Bush administration's idea that making Iraq the "central front in the war on terror" seems to be working. According to the State report, terrorism in South Asia is down by 10 percent from a year ago. In Europe, it's down 18 percent. In Central and South America, terrorism-related deaths are down 54 percent.

These aren't the kinds of facts you'll hear on the evening news or read in your local newspaper. But they're all in the report. I crunched the numbers (click here for OpenDocument data file, requires free OpenOffice suite) based on the raw data provided by State Department's National Counterterrorism Center.

Sadly, most Americans will never know these facts. I guess they're what you might call inconvenient truths.

N.B. Get your own numbers to crunch at the NCTC's Worldwide Incidents Tracking System here.

(Thanks to commenter MrShy for story idea.)

Update 11:45. Paul Mirengoff adds: "To the extent that the State Department numbers militate in favor of a particular course of action for 2007, that course is to continue prosecuting the Bush administration's overall strategy against global terrorism, but to develop new ways to take on the terrorists in Iraq. This is what the administration has decided to do."

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013