Terrorism grew after Saddam’s fall
Letter to the Editor from the Providence Journal in Rhode Island 4/9/07.
In his April 1 Commentary piece, “The measurement of national safety,” Col. Theodore L. Gatchel takes to task Democrats who, without providing a rationale to back up their assertion, make the claim that the war in Iraq “has not made America safer.” He poses the question “What measures of effectiveness are they using to compare the safety of the United States before and after the American-led coalition invaded Iraq?” and suggests that “the number of terrorist incidents would be a logical place to start.”
I also agree that the number of terrorist incidents would provide a good indicator of how successful the war in Iraq has been. And, since Colonel Gatchel and others have argued that we are really engaged in a “global” war on terror, it seems to me a good measure of effectiveness would be the number of global terrorist incidents that have occurred since the invasion.
In August 2004 President Bush established the National Counterterrorism Center ( http://www.nctc.gov/) as part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In 2004, the NCTC started an online database of global terrorist attacks called the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (http://wits.nctc.gov/).
A search of their database yields the following results (as of 4/1/2007): total number of terrorist attacks world-wide in 2004: 3,257; in 2005: 11,153; in 2006: 14,343.
What are we to make of these facts? While it is true, as Colonel Gatchel points out, that no major attacks have occurred on U.S. soil since the invasion, the WITS data makes it clear that the war in Iraq has not made the world safer. If worldwide terrorist attacks continue to increase at the alarming rate suggested by the WITS data, it is only a matter of time before Americans, both abroad and here at home, will once again be under attack.
The only way to reverse this trend is to abandon our clearly unsuccessful military approach to the war on terror and to start down the road to a political, diplomatic, and economic solution.
East Providence, R.I.
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