Safer, My Ass!
(Printed in the Towanda Daily Review on May 16, 2004. Title is for web version only.

As I write, 833 brave and dedicated American soldiers have died fighting the war on terror. The monetary cost, thus far, is well over $100 billion. Both figures are rising rapidly.

One measure of the success of the war on terror is the State Department’s annual report on international terrorism for 2003, initially released on April 29. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said, "You will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight,” and cited a reduction by 45 percent of worldwide terrorism between 2001 and 2003. The report also claimed that the period covered in the report "represents the lowest annual total of international terrorist attacks since 1969."

This would be remarkable news, especially for the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, if it were true. On June 10, however, the State Department issued the following: “After learning of possible discrepancies in the first week of May, the Department of State and the Terrorist Threat Integration Center initiated a review of the data published in the 2003 edition of ‘Patterns of Global Terrorism.’”

When analyzed correctly, significant acts of terrorism actually increased by 36 percent rather that decreasing by 45 percent as reported. Make no mistake, this was not a innocent error. It was intended to deceive to maintain support for this ill-fated war, just as reasons were fabricated to enter into Iraq for an easier, more news-worthy target, while virtually ignoring the real terrorists who, at the time, were still in Afghanistan.

It is sad indeed to ignore and misrepresent facts, for political reasons, about progress on your primary objective. Thus far, George W. Bush’s war of choice has not made us safer.

John L. Ferri

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