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Monday, September 11, 2006

Except for the various terrorist attacks, we haven't had any terrorist attacks for five years

[Note: Updated 12:48 PM]
Tim, I think we've done a pretty good job of securing the nation against terrorists. You know, we're here on the fifth anniversary, and there has not been another attack on the United States.
-- Fearmaster Cheney, yesterday on Meet the Press

Which is true, of course, if you buy Useless Dick's assumptions:
  • Attacks by domestic terrorists don't count: Rules out anthrax (probably, although nothing has really been proven about that), Beltway snipers, various other freeway snipers, various attacks on mosques, driving cars into crowds of people, etc.
  • Small attacks don't count: When an Egyptian started a shooting rampage at the airport in Los Angeles on July 4, 2002, killing two, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said, "There is no evidence, no indication at this time that this is terrorists." You can bet that had it occurred in Tel Aviv, Fleischer and all of the media would have called it terrorism.
  • Not-so-small attacks like slitting the throat of a Greyhound bus driver killing seven and wounding 32, don't count either.
  • Attacks overseas don't count: Most of the Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan can't properly be labelled victims of "terrorism," even when killed by suicide bombers, because most have been military personnel. (Most definitions of terrorism refer to attacks on civilians, although this hasn't stopped Cheney and others from referring to the 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon as "terrorism.") Nevertheless, dozens (hundreds?) of American civilians have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq in ways that could be considered terrorism. Americans have also died in terror attacks in Madrid, Bali, London, and elsewhere.
  • Suspicious airplane crashes aren't terrorism if the Secretary of State says they aren't three hours after the crash--no matter what the evidence might suggest once it has stopped burning.
  • Ditto for suspicious crashes which kill anti-war Democratic senators running for re-election.
  • Leaving people stranded in a flooded city for days, shooting up school buildings from airplanes, beating and shooting at non-violent protesters? Not terrorism if the government does it.
  • Shooting lawyers in the face certainly doesn't count.
  • The all-encompassing rule: It's only terrorism if we say it is. The U.S. government possesses the only true definition of terrorism, although what that definition is is classified Top Secret.
Following Cheney's rules, the Bushies' five-year record looks pretty meager compared to the Clintonistas, who prevented attacks for almost eight years: from the February 1993 attack on the WTC until the end of the term in 2001. Waco? Not terrorism because the government did it. Oklahoma City? Domestic--doesn't count. TWA 800? Mechanical failure--just ask the government. Khobar towers? Overseas, military target. Olympic bombing? Both the real bomber and the one falsely accused were domestic, so it doesn't count. East African embassies? Overseas--don't count. Columbine? Domestic, and heck, they were just kids, right? Doesn't count.

And don't even try to bring up the fact that both the Clinton and Bush administrations have committed far more attacks that should be called terrorism than have ever been committed against the US. Doesn't count. See the all-encompassing rule.