Selection bias as noted by Daniel Henninger
Precisely what conclusion is one expected to arrive at from any of this? If George Bush had never invaded Iraq, none of this would be happening? Or, if we removed our troops from Iraq, these bombings would stop? Or perhaps they will still be bombed, but we in the U.S. will not likely experience anything very bad?
If we removed our troops from Iraq, the terror would not stop. But the U.S. news of innocent civilians blown up in Iraq would move to the unread round-up columns. Then, in a way, the phenomenon of terror would indeed shrink--to this:
December 2004: A powerful explosion ripped through a market packed with Christmas shoppers in the southern Philippines yesterday, killing at least 15 people and injuring 58.
According to the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (established after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing), there have been about 8,300 terrorist bombings in the world the past 10 years. They have killed more than 10,000 human beings and injured--often appallingly, one assumes--some 43,000 people. (There are separate tallies for arson, kidnapping, hijacking, etc. September 11 is listed as an "unconventional attack.")
May 3, 2002: A bomb attack on a church in western Colombia has left at least 60 civilians dead and about 100 others injured. Officials are blaming FARC guerrillas for the bombing.
Before September 11 happened in the United States, and ever since, factions with grievances have been blowing up unprotected people going about the act of daily life--shopping, praying, taking their children to school, laughing with friends, burying the dead--all over the world. Places where the sudden cloudbursts of blood don't always merit our front pages include Spain, Colombia, Israel, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Northern Ireland, Russia, Afghanistan, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Egypt and elsewhere.
July 7, 2004: At least five people were killed and 11 wounded when a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew herself up inside a police station in the Sri Lankan capital.
Living in the U.S., one could make the cold-blooded calculation that 21,000 dead and 55,000 injured from all terrorist acts over 10 years is a drop in the bucket and that the war in Iraq has mainly increased the rate of death. This may be true. But if as many suicide bombs went off in Manhattan as have gone off in Israel, Manhattanites would have demanded martial law and the summary execution of suspects on street corners. Their greatest goal in life would not be, as it is now, the closing of interrogation rooms on Guantanamo but instead the erasure of terrorists hiding across the East River.
Feb. 9, 2005: A car bomb exploded near Madrid's main convention center, injuring 43 people, hours before Spanish and Mexican leaders were due there and after a warning from the Basque separatist group ETA. It was the worst blast in the Spanish capital since last year's March 11 al Qaeda train bombings.
No matter how fat the diet of stories about Iraq suicide bombings or Gitmo shoved down our throats and no matter how many distraught opinion-poll results come back up, no serious person can allow post-9/11 American security to be reduced to that.
The death march of homicidal zombies in Iraq is trying to push us toward accepting the idea that acts of unrestrained violence against other human beings is now a normal part of politics. It is not normal. Any civilized person should want to resist the normalization of civilian killing as a political act--whether in Iraq, Spain, Indonesia or Kashmir.
That terrorism in Iraq makes the headline while terrorism elsewhere makes the footnotes. The agenda is that terrorism in Iraq is a direct consequence of our invasion and continued presence, and the implied solution is for withdrawal. Both are foolish and dangerous.
But elsewhere media reports can also do some good as evidenced by this report in the WSJ
For those in the West who watched the horrors of the Balkan wars in real time on TV, it might be hard to believe that it took 10 years to convince the Serbian public of the atrocities committed by some of their countrymen.
But until just a couple of weeks ago, many Serbs, who during the war had been fed a barrage of lies and propaganda, were in a state of denial. War criminals were often seen as patriots and defenders of Serbian civilians rather than as the killers of Bosnian or Croat civilians they were. As recently as May, an opinion poll showed that more than half of the population didn't believe that, in 1995, Serb forces committed in Srebrenica the worst massacre in Europe since the end of World War II, killing 8,000 Muslim men and boys.
But on June 1, the revisionist myth of a heroic and just war received a deadly blow. On this day, Serbian TV channels repeatedly broadcast a video of Serbian forces from the special "Scorpions" unit who answered directly to Belgrade murdering six Bosnian Muslim youths near Srebrenica. The footage was aired unedited, showing how the killers first taunted their victims, staging mock executions only to shoot them later anyway one by one.
The video has changed the terms of debate about the war in Serbia. Particularly heartening was the reaction of the political leaders. President Boris Tadic appeared on national television, visibly shaken, saying Serbia was stunned by "a monstrous crime." He told his countrymen that he was ready "to go to Srebrenica to pay tribute." Even the leader of the ultra-nationalist Serb Radical Party called for stiff punishment of those who "committed horrible crimes and killed in cold blood."
The speaker of the Serbian parliament, Predrag Markovic, announced that he would push for a "resolution on Srebrenica" to condemn the massacre ahead of its 10th anniversary July 11. He had previously rejected such calls. And last weekend an unprecedented conference took place in Belgrade, titled "Srebrenica: Beyond Reasonable Doubt," where relatives of the victims addressed the conference delegates.
I think of the pictures of abuses from Abu Graeb in comparison and the pathetic status of our media makes me sad.