Echoing the lunk-headed defiance that George Bush just displayed in his press conference, Newsweek has one of those spectacularly wrong cover stories entitled "Obama’s Cheney Dilemma." It concludes that because there hasn’t been another major domestic terrorist attack since 9/11, Dick Cheney’s tough-guy tactics and extra-legal efforts must have been successful. Thus Obama must "try to find a middle road that will protect civil liberties without leaving the nation defenseless."
It’s hard to unpack all the bullshit in that article, but let’s start with dismantling the notion which is the tentpole of the Bush/Cheney "legacy tour," namely that terrorism is down.
From Friday’s White House press briefing:
Question: The administration has been boasting about the success of the President’s war on terror, yet data compiled by the RAND Corporation show that the global rate of terrorism, as measured by the number of people killed per year, increased by almost fivefold during the Bush presidency. And according to the government’s own terrorism statistics, 2007 was the worst year ever, with over 22,000 people killed worldwide. Does the President consider that record a success?
(Deputy Press Secretary, Scott) STANZEL: The President considers it very much a success that we have kept this nation safe since the devastating attacks of 9/11. The magnitude of the attacks on 9/11 were unprecedented, unseen, when 19 individuals armed with box cutters flew airplanes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and were fought and died in a field in Pennsylvania.
We have taken the fight to the terrorists. It has been this President’s sole mission throughout his presidency to confront those threats where they are. He has a much talked about Bush Doctrine. The President has made it very clear that if you aid, abet, house, feed, fund a terrorist, you are just as guilty as the terrorist, and that we will also confront the challenges where they emerge so we don’t have to face them here at home. And we will work to spread an ideology of hope and freedom, which will be the ultimate tool in combating terrorism around the world.
So I’ll move on. Yes, go ahead –
Question: But shouldn’t the anti-terrorism efforts reduce terrorism rather than increase it?
MR. STANZEL: Well, I guess you should ask the question, have terrorists — do terrorists continue to try to kill innocent civilians around the world? Yes, they do. Should we then just take a step back and decide, no, we shouldn’t confront those challenges?
Question: But you can try a –
MR. STANZEL: I’m done, I’m going to move on.
You would hope by now that reporters would know better than to swallow shovels full of BushCo. propaganda, but I guess we don’t get to elect a smarter press corps.
Question: Is our journalists learning?
Update: Thanks to bonkers in the comments for pointing out that the journalist who asked the question was Eric Brewer from Raw Story. Nicely done.