Friday, April 18, 2008

What we all knew about terrorism, confirmed

The Washington Post published an entirely unsurprising article today, citing confidential government sources giving the details of data compiled by the US government on suicide bombings worldwide. Last year, there were 658 suicide attacks world wide, with 542 in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 21,350 have been killed in these attacks since 1983, and more than 80% of these have happened since 2001. The article says suicide bombings have occurred on five continents – the one without, I suppose, would be Oceania. According to the article, "[a]t least two-thirds of suicide bombings since 1983 have targeted U.S. policy goals." I take that to mean two-thirds of all attacks, not two-thirds of all victims of attacks. That number, I suspect, would be larger.

What disturbs me most about the article, though, is the fact that this had to be anonymously leaked and wasn't automatically made public. The article cites a military spokesman as saying that US casualties from suicide bombs in Iraq couldn't be revealed "because it might show the effectiveness of the enemy's weapon." In other words, we can't tell you, because you'd realize we're losing if we did.

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