No news is bad news

U.S. eliminates annual terrorism report

It’s the worst year for terrorism since records began, and they aren’t even including the attacks on US troops in Iraq?

How are attacks on troops terrorism? I thought the US was retaining some perspective by not calling them that.

So I guess all those strategically placed exploding cars are all due to shoddy workmanship?

I was gently reminding Tim that attacks on legitimate military targets are not terrorism. Do you not understand one of the most important terms in international law and discourse today, or are you just accustomed to making snarky one-liners about things you haven’t even bothered to try to think through?

At this point in the occupation, though, doesn’t it become less black and white? Sure, those soldiers are military, but at the same time they’re currently acting more like an armed police force due to the current situation.

I can accept that there’s a line between “terrorism” and “guerilla attacks”, but it’s thin enough that I don’t find it unreasonable to report on in a terrorism report, particularly when many of the same people are responsible for both.

I don’t think it’s a tricky distinction at all. These are occupying military forces, not civilians. There’s no way in my mind that attacking U.S. forces in Iraq could be construed as deliberately targetting civilians. We conquered and occupied their country; we are not in any sense a local police force and painting us as such is weirdly propagandistic and weakens the anti-terrorism message overall.

If there’s a thin line it’s with the Iraqi police force. I think that depends on whether police are being used for anti-insurgent activites. We can argue that one, but U.S. forces? Not even close to terrorism.

Hezbollah terrorist attack on US Marines, Lebanon, 1983

The judge called the October 23, 1983 bombing “the most deadly state-sponsored terrorist attack made against United States citizens before September 11, 2001.”

Then there is the USS Cole, and Israel as well as most other countries seem to include attacks by guerilla groups as terrorism.

I guess the definition of terrorism is dependent purely on what particular angle you are trying to push. If you are pushing the Islamic nightmare idea, then every attack is terrorism. If you are trying to push the idea that Bush is winning the war on terrorism, then every attack by terrorists against US military suddenly becomes a guerilla attack.

I don’t think I’m pushing any angle, and I’ve never thought of the Cole attack as terrorism. The attackers actually saluted the men on deck, they clearly considered themselves warriors attacking other warriors, and I’m inclined to agree. I don’t think the attack on the Marines in Lebanon was a terrorist action either, although both were carried out by terrorist organizations.

If people want to change the focus of the definition from the targetting methodology to the tactics employed, well, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

I wasn’t talking about you, personally, pushing any angle, I was referring to the people who decide what defines terrorism :).

Bush’s Scrub List:

Knight-Ridder reports today that the Bush administration announced yesterday that it has “decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government’s top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.”

When unemployment was peaking in Bush’s first term, the White House tried to stop publishing the Labor Department’s regular report on mass layoffs.

In 2003, when the nation’s governors came to Washington to complain about inadequate federal funding for the states, the Bush administration decided to stop publishing the budget report that states use to see what money they are, or aren’t, getting.

In 2003, the National Council for Research on Women found that information about discrimination against women has gone missing from government Web sites, including 25 reports from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.

In 2002, Democrats uncovered evidence that the Bush administration was removing health information from government websites. Specifically, the administration deleted data showing that abortion does not increase the risk of breast cancer from government websites. That scientific data was seen by the White House as a direct affront to the pro-life movement.

If all of those are true, Andrew, they’re fucking scary.

And I’m betting the terrorism report wasn’t published because, even if you discount the attacks on American troops in Iraq (which I agree, aren’t terrorist actions, but instead should be classified as warfare of the guerrilla type), you still have the actual terrorist actions in Iraq: Blowing up people, buildings, infrastructure, voters, etc.

There may be no real difference in “traditional” international terrorism, statistically speaking, but something makes me feel like there was enough Iraq-based terrorism that they just didn’t want it to get out.

I can’t shape the feeling that, the way things are going, I’m going to get the chance if things keep up to go through another Watergate type ordeal. Except I’m not sure they’ll ever get caught and, even if they did, I don’t know there would exactly be a public outcry about it. There seems to be a lot of shady crap going on with the current government, though. And it makes me really nervous when the government starts to suppress information to its own people about things that really aren’t national defense by any stretch of the imagination.

If the attacks on the soldiers in iraq aren’t terrorism then we need a world guerilla report, too.

I can’t wait for the war on guerilla warfare.

Look, calling the attacks on our soldiers over there terrorism is a bunch of bullshit; they’re resisting a military occupation, for Christ’s sake.

However, this report is also bullshit, because Bush has repeatedly called the insurgents “terrorists.”

He can do that because they don’t restrict their activities to U.S. troops. Thus, they are terrorists while attacking U.S. troops, but they are not engaging in terrorism. It’s really slippery language, standard Bush misleading.

In any event, I’d be glad about this, because I view anything that takes some of the emphasis off of terrorism as a step in the right direction, if I wasn’t so sure that this was just more Bush posturing; he’s obviously not going to actually take the emphasis off of terrorism, it’s his bread and butter.

Over a week ago it came out that the State Department had decided to stop publishing its 19-year-old report on Patterns of Global Terror, based in part “because the 2004 statistics raised disturbing questions about the Bush’s administration’s frequent claims of progress in the war against terrorism.” Unless another agency steps up to provide a new publicly available report, Americans will no longer have access to a definitive assessment of global terrorism, remaining ignorant of how many terrorist attacks have happened in which parts of the world, of how effective US counterterrorism policy is, of whether, in short, the war is being won. The Medium Lobster hails this as a masterstroke - possibly the final blow to crush the jihadists once and for all.

The war on terror is a war of ideas: Freedom versus Tyranny, Justice versus Injustice, Good versus Evil. On this iconic battleground, it doesn’t matter whether actual terrorism increases or decreases; it only matters that the idea of terrorism disappear. It’s not important that real terrorists be caught or killed; it’s only important that Americans think of them less often. It’s certainly not necessary or desirable to have a persistently negative terror report remind Americans that terrorism not only exists, but thrives overseas.

Taking the fight directly to the idea of terror, the Bush Administration has cleverly opted to abandon talk of Iraq and terrorism in order to let the very concept of terror fade from the public consciousness. Indeed, the President has gone so far as to spend weeks flying across the country filling the airwaves with thousands of hours of meaningless prattle on Social Security privatization, all to distract Americans from terror, driving the very notion of Islamism from the mental landscape, until it becomes impossible to even conceive of terror as an abstract principle. Oh, blow up all the buildings you want, Osama bin Laden… but what good will that do you when we don’t even know they exist!

Indeed, the Medium Lobster understands that citizens are soon to be issued special anti-terror optic shields - protective wear made of sturdy yet lightweight, opaque fabric worn across the eyes and fastened behind the head - which will prevent Americans from being contaminated with hostile jihadist data in the event of an attack by theoretical terrorist forces. Should another 9/11 happen, Americans will be prepared to ignore it, wondering aloud, “What’s all that noise?” and “Curious, there used to be a Chrysler Building here” and “Perhaps I’ll go back to shopping, after all, there’s no such thing as terrorists.” At which point another Muslim extremist, stripped of belief in his tenuous existence, will shrivel up and disappear in a puff of pixie dust.

He can do that because they don’t restrict their activities to U.S. troops. Thus, they are terrorists while attacking U.S. troops, but they are not engaging in terrorism. It’s really slippery language, standard Bush misleading.[/quote]

Such groups are terrorist guerillas. Or “freedom fighters” when graduates of SOA/WHINSEC.

As bad as that is Jason there is a grain of truth to this “war on the perception of reality”; it’s just that what is disturbing is that it can work both ways, something which this administration is clearly aware and is happy to employ.

If Greenspan got up in the morning tomorrow, rubbed his eyes, took some coffee, and held a press conference declaring his belief that the economy was unsalvagable and doomed to collapse, the economy would collaspe, that very day. If Bush went bat-shit loony on TV and started shooting people randomly while clucking like a chicken, despite it killing only the “surplus population”, the economy would collapse, right then and there. Its long been understood that public confidence is the leading indicator of economic growth and that the key to growth is keeping the public happy. In recent years it means keeping the public blissfully unaware of the fundamentals of the economic situation.

If your an extremist Republican, you take this a step further and start fabricating “pro-policy” news items if not just outright institutionalize propaganda - because after all, its a war of ideas. There is some logic and reason to this willingness to blind and lead the public, but its just what happens ‘afterwords’ that is difficult to forsee - most of all entrenching a patriarchial and condescending attitude in goverment toward the people their are supposed to represent. That can lead to some real problems down the road.

No it wouldn’t.

Assuming him to be wrong (or lying), a contesting view (or views) would hit the news soon after. Before that time, people would be concerned but would not simply stop buying and selling because of something Greenspan said. The actual effect of such a Greenspan statement (again assuming him to be wrong or lying) is a small negative bump in the economy.

No it wouldn’t. It would probably hurt the tourism industry however, especially around Washington D.C.

Give me a million dollars and I’ll be “confident”. So… is the key the confidence or the million dollars?

The public is happy if they are well off. Yes, technically this is just “the perception that they are well off” but fooling people isn’t easy. Its a lot easier to make someone happy by making them REALLY happy rather than fooling them into being happy.

“Attitude” is the least of the problems. Any form of deception is very difficult and takes you down a road you can’t deviate from. Its like lying: you have to build a more elaborate story to cover your previous story. It becomes a mess.

You lose the ability to assume. Everything has to be controlled or things get “out of hand”… the story begins to unravel.

The integrity lost can never be regained. The trust lost cannot be regained. You’d better hope democracy can be destroyed, because democracy will not honor you.

The heart of the Neocons contains many things. Dig deep and you find a resentment over “what happened to Nixon”. They will take revenge in Nixon’s name. Theirs is a wound that was not healed. Their fear and pain is now being shared.

They are a broken sewer pipe, with seepage reaching the surface of the American government and culture.