Thursday, July 22, 2004

How Bush fakes the numbers on terror 

Feeling safer? No? Well, you're right. The numbers tell the story. So that's why Bush had them faked. Yes, it's an old story, but it bears repeating, because none of the problems have been addressed:

A State Department report, "Patterns of Global Terrorism," provides the most authoritative public information on terrorist activity. This year's report, released in April, was marred by serious errors, including simple mistakes in arithmetic and the wrong cutoff date for the end of the year. It had to be corrected and reissued.

The revised number of people killed or wounded in international terrorist attacks in 2003 was twice what was originally reported, and 56 percent greater than in 2002. The number of "significant" attacks reached its highest level in more than 20 years.

The careless errors ....

Careless? That's being mighty charitable! In future, please refer all stories of Bush "carelessness" to The Department of "How Stupid Do They Think We Are?"

....in this year's report aside, "the big problem with the State data," according to Todd Sandler, an economist at the University of Southern California who studies terrorism, "is the political spin put on the write-up."

For example, an accompanying letter to Congress falsely boasted that "2003 saw the lowest annual level of terrorist attacks since 1969, an indication of the great progress that has been made in fighting terrorism after the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001."

Another problem is that critical details, including who prepares the report and decides whether an event is significant, have not been made public. What is more, nonsignificant terrorist events have been tracked less thoroughly in recent years, also rendering trends in the total number of events meaningless.

Although an internal review is pending, the State Department has been slow to act to restore credibility to its report.
(via the sadly demoralized Times)

And it gets better! Asked how to improve the report, the malAdministration's response is to give less information, not more!

No changes in procedures to prevent a repeat of the kinds of errors in this year's terrorism report or the perennial partisanship that accompanies it have been announced. The idea of inviting an independent organization to evaluate the report's methods and procedures was shelved, although an internal review is pending.

In a briefing for Congressional staff members, J. Cofer Black of the State Department and John O. Brennan of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, who accepted responsibility for the errors in the report, floated the idea of dropping the detailed chronology from next year's report. Not only would such a move violate Congress's requirement for "a full and complete report," it would also be counterproductive - more objective information on terrorist attacks is needed, not less.

Indeed, the errors in this year's report could not have been caught had the chronology been excluded.

So here we have Bush running for election using a newly trumped up slogan whose first word is "Safer."

And the numbers show that "Safer" is, well, a lie.

So where does The World's Greatest Newspaper (not!) put the story? A1? No. As you might expect, A18? No. They bury it in the business section. Are they in the tank, or what?

corrente SBL - New Location
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