USA: Oops, he did it again
Keith Vance

In late April the administration of George W. Bush published a “Patterns of Global Terrorism Report” claiming that instances of terrorism fell in 2003 to the lowest level since 1969. Hot on the heels of that report came Richard Armitage, the US deputy secretary of state, hailing its findings as evidence that the actions of the Bush administration had resulted in fewer terrorist attacks, saying that “you will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight [against terrorism].”

But last week the State Department released a statement saying that the data in the report was wrong – terrorist attacks had actually risen by 36 percent in 2003 to their highest level in 20 years. In a damning admittance of error, the State Department statement acknowledged that “the data in the report is incomplete and in some cases incorrect.”

If the incorrect data was evidence that the Bush administration was winning the war on terror, does that mean that the correct data shows that we are actually losing the war on terror, and that decisions made by Bush are resulting in more terrorist attacks around the world?

The US administration’s response to this inquiry was that the war on terror is an ongoing struggle that no one claimed was over. This defense muddles the issue, which is that our leaders will not admit that they have misled the American public once again, and that their execution of the war on terror has done more to further than hinder the terrorist cause.

The data actually show there has been an increase in terrorist attacks each year since 2001. Consequently, it is not reasonable to conclude that President Bush has made it more difficult for terrorists to launch attacks.

When he took office, Bush wanted to convey a very different image from the camp of former US president Bill Clinton, which in some ways resembled a fraternity, huddled over issues in the White House late at night over take-away pizzas. Bush wanted to show that on his watch, the CEO’s were in charge and on top of things.

But in the last three years his administration has been wrong more often than right. It missed the warning signs prior to 9/11, and nearly 3,000 Americans paid with their lives.

It was wrong about ex-Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s WMD. Its claims of a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden were incorrect. The Bush camp wrongly predicted the ease of invading Iraq, installing a democratic government, and seeing democracy spread throughout the Middle East. Bush blundered in his ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech in May 2003 aboard a US ship in the Indian Ocean, when he said the war against Iraq was over.

Since that speech, hundreds of US soldiers have died and countless – because we do not count them – Iraqis have been killed.

Come to think of it, it is difficult to think of anytime that the Bush administration has been right.

Acknowledgement to Media Monitors Network