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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Perspective

Canadian Lawrence Martin on the terror "threat:"
In his speech at the Democratic convention, Jimmy Carter noted how the Bush administration had willfully generated public panic over terrorism. Statistics show that, last year, acts of terrorism killed 300 to 400 people, ranking it so far down the list of dangers to livelihood that it is barely visible. The threat of terrorism certainly shouldn't be minimized; but it also shouldn't be exaggerated by a cowed media to fit the White House agenda. For anyone who looks at some of history's worst threats -- the German military machine that killed tens of millions, the Soviet Union with a nuclear arsenal that could have turned this continent into rubble -- the terrorism of today, though George Bush has seeded so much more of it in Iraq, isn't anywhere close.

But how often does the media carry this context? The toll from weapons of mass destruction, which played no part in 9/11, has been trifling over the past decade, but the White House, playing the media as puppets, has made WMD a momentous issue of our times.

If it weren't so politically useful to Mr. Bush -- check the midterm elections -- and media buttons weren't so easy to push, it's safe a bet that the terrorism threat wouldn't get half the air time.
Of course, the Democrats have had plenty of free air time this week to bring some perspective to this issue, but did they? From their platform:
Today, we face three great challenges above all others first, to win the global war against terror; second, to stop the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; and third, to promote democracy and freedom around the world, starting with a peaceful and stable Iraq.
Of course, John Edwards maintained perspective last night:
And we will have one clear unmistakable message for al Qaida and the rest of these terrorists. You cannot run. You cannot hide. And we will destroy you.
More people die on our highways in an average month than have died in all terror attacks in the U.S. in the past 12 years? (Over 3400 on the highways each month, compared with slightly under 3000 on 9/11, 159? in Oklahoma City, 6 in the first WTC bombing, a few others here and there.) Way more American soldiers have been killed in the past year in Iraq than by terrorist attacks on Americans in any year except 2001.

The "war on terror" is a scam pushed by both major parties to keep the military-industrial complex, and its campaign contributions, humming. Osama needs George, and George needs Osama. After he's elected, Kerry will need Osama.