Skip to comments.Studies dispel myths about war's impact
Posted on 08/21/2008 6:26:37 AM PDT by library user
INDEPENDENT RESEARCH debunks one of the Democratic Party's favorite talking points about the global consequences of the war in Iraq.
Armed with government statistics showing a big increase in terrorist attacks since 2002, Democrats routinely assert that President Bush ignited a firestorm of terrorism throughout the Muslim world when he sent troops into Iraq. The claim and the statistics are used to illustrate what Democrats see as the foolishness of the president's belief that toppling Saddam Hussein's regime would reduce instability in the Middle East and eliminate a major potential source of terrorism.
A survey released in May by a Canadian university proves that the statistics paint a distorted picture of terrorism outside the borders of Iraq.
Fareed Zakaria, a columnist for Newsweek, praised Simon Fraser University for producing "a well-researched, independent analysis of the data relating to terrorism." The analysis shows that, excluding civilian casualties in Iraq, deaths caused by terrorism have declined by more than 40 percent since 2001.
It "makes no sense" to count civilian casualties in a war zone as deaths caused by terrorism, Mr. Zakaria wrote. Since the mid-1990s, thousands of civilians have been killed in war zones in other countries around the world, and those victims weren't counted as casualties related to terrorism.
Perhaps the most telling statistic is the 65 percent decline in terrorist attacks since 2004. Al-Qaida-initiated attacks peaked in 2004, but Osama bin Laden and his followers haven't been able to sustain the carnage.
The Simon Fraser study attributes the sharp decrease in terrorist attacks to effective counterterrorism operations, discord among the jihadists and an "extraordinary drop in support for Islamist terror organizations in the Muslim world over the past five years."
This dramatic shift in opinion destroys partisan claims that President Bush's policies have turned millions of moderates in Muslim countries into al-Qaida sympathizers.
A 2002 Pew Research Center poll of Muslim countries found alarming levels of support for al-Qaida and its tactics. In Lebanon, for instance, 74 percent of the respondents said they believed suicide bombing was justified.
Four years later, Pew polled again in Muslim nations and discovered very different attitudes. The percentage of people in Lebanon who said they thought suicide bombing was justified had fallen to 34 percent. In Jordan, support for suicide bombing plummeted 20 points between 2002 and 2007.
Keep in mind that the Iraq War began in 2003. Obviously, the war didn't fuel extremist views in Muslim countries. Those views were far more widespread before President Bush opted for regime change in Iraq.
Mr. Zakaria thinks the Canadian study is significant because it doesn't fit into the "narrative of fear" surrounding Islamic terrorism.
In our view, that narrative is based on the demonstrated capabilities of the jihadists, and the ever-present possibility they will strike again in the United States or Europe.
However, it's encouraging to see an independent analysis that indicates the U.S. strategy in the war on terrorism is working, and that the war in Iraq is having no negative effect on that global struggle.
THANK YOU! It's about time someone can differentiate between the two!
The friggin’ NIE said the same thing. Dopes
Interesting update and analysis
None of this would have been possible were it not for the hard work and sacrifice of our great military and their families. Talk about Olympian effort! God bless the USA.