Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Winning the War on Terror, One Report at a Time

It seems Condoleeza Rice’s U.S. State Department has come up with a brilliant new strategy for documenting how the Bush Administration is winning the war on terror: they’ve decided to stop keeping score.

For the first time in its existence, the annual “Patterns of Global Terrorism” report will omit the actual number of terrorist attacks that took place in 2004.

When the State Department issued the report last year, it was widely criticized for underreporting the number of attacks and deaths. The department had to issue a corrected report that showed much higher figures. It won’t be accused of doing that this year.

The revised figures for 2003: 208 attacks, with 175 considered “significant” – the highest figure in 19 years.

In 2004, the number of attacks rose to 655, according to former CIA analyst Larry Johnson, who says he’s seen the raw numbers. That figure does not include attacks on U.S. military personnel in Iraq, or attacks on Iraqis in Iraq. Maybe they simply couldn’t count that high.

But that number won’t appear in the report to be published on April 30. According to State Department spokesmodel Richard Boucher, the report omits the figures because the methodology for counting terrorist attacks was “flawed.” Damned clever of them to notice after 35 years. The job of keeping stats on terror will now fall to the National Counterterrorism Center, which has been equipped with counting sticks and clay tablets for that purpose.

In other news, the Bush Administration has declared that the National Weather Service will no longer be issuing reports on average mean temperatures across the U.S. Apparently the results were considered misleading, due to the fact that some areas of the country are colder than the average, while others are hotter.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will also stop releasing monthly unemployment figures, effectively immediately. The EPA will no longer issue reports on air or water quality. And President Bush has cancelled any future State of the Union Addresses.

“The state of the union is just fine,” said a White House spokesperson. “We’ll let you know if anything changes.”


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