The Hidden Costs of Terrorism

Dec. 22 2016

Responding to those who argue that concerns over terrorism are overblown—one philosopher pointed out that, on September 11, 2001, an estimated 30,000 children across the globe died of hunger—Spencer Case writes:

Fatality statistics, first of all, don’t account for the possibility of unprecedented terror events. We may yet witness attacks in which terrorists poison the water supply of a major city, detonate a nuclear bomb, or release a weaponized pathogen at an international airport. A cyberattack on the electric grid could cause power outages that last for months and span several states. Affected areas would immediately be plunged into a total breakdown of civil order and could suffer from mass starvation within days. . . .

[But numbers alone] fail to reflect the broader costs of terrorism. . . . Chess master Aron Nimzowitsch famously said, “The threat is stronger than the execution.” Terrorists use literal executions as a means to generate an atmosphere of perpetual threat. . . . In 2013, Islamists in Bangladesh circulated a “hit list” with the names of 84 people whom they found troublesome. As of this writing, nine of those people are dead, as are dozens of others, due to grisly terrorist attacks in which victims were often dispatched with machetes. Soon after the targeted killing commenced, Ananya Azad, a blogger on the list, quit his job as a columnist, stopped blogging, and now rarely goes outdoors. (His father, litterateur Humayun Azad, had been gravely wounded in a 2003 machete attack). Doubtless many others whose names we don’t know are being intimidated into silence. . . .

The shadow of fear extends into the Western world, too. Behold how our leaders reacted with panic in 2011, when the Florida pastor Terry Jones proposed to burn a copy of the Quran. (He eventually did so, and violence predictably erupted.) Or the fact that the cartoonist Molly Norris has been in hiding for five years, at the FBI’s recommendation, because she suggested that there be an “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.” . . .

And then there are the economic consequences of terrorism. The New York Times estimated [that] $55 billion worth of physical damage and an additional $123 billion in economic damage to various industries [were] caused by 9/11.

Read more at National Review

More about: Bangladesh, Politics & Current Affairs, Terrorism

The State Department Seems to Be Covering Up Palestinian Incitement

July 26 2017

Last week, the U.S. State Department released its annual report on global terrorism in the year 2016, and, for apparently the tenth consecutive year, the report defended the Palestinian Authority in language identical or nearly identical to that used in years before. For example, the 2016 report notes that “The PA has taken significant steps during President [Mahmoud] Abbas’s tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence.” That same sentence also appeared in the department’s reports for 2015, 2014 and 2013. Similar repetition of language from those years and years earlier can be found across the report.

What’s going on? “Two prominent former Israeli diplomats are charging that the State Department is recycling parts of its old reports in order to whitewash the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) incitement to violence,” Rafael Medoff writes, quoting the former Israeli diplomat Alan Baker:

[According to Baker], State Department officials seem to be “taking previous reports and copying them, making slight changes where they consider it relevant,” instead of objectively assessing the PA’s most recent behavior.

Baker said that not only has the PA failed to take “significant steps” against incitement, but “the opposite is the case—their own actions, statements and publications, naming streets and squares after terrorists, formally paying fees to terrorist families, all point to a distinctive step backward in violation of Palestinian commitments pursuant to the Oslo Accords.”

The result, Baker said, is that “the Palestinians see it as a license to continue and as support for their struggle. If the State Department closes a blind eye, this is tantamount to giving a green light.”

[According to a second Israeli diplomat], the State Department slants its reports about the PA because the department “fears that its own words will be used to buttress congressional efforts to cut aid to the PA. . . . ”

Read more at JNS

More about: Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, State Department