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Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Sunday, July 09, 2006

Losing the War on Terrorism

Foreign Policy magazine has an article (The Terrorism Index) about the Global and Perpetual War on Terrorism. It is a compilation and analysis of the results of a survey of 117 experts on foreign policy and terrorism. The main finding is that 86% of the experts agree that we are losing the war on terrorism.

It is remarkable that there is such strong agreement among experts on this topic. Given the strength of their findings, and the popularity of the topic, you might think that the article would gain widespread attention.

Instead, it has barely made a ripple.

Searching Google News with the string "Terrorism Index" turns up only three pages of results. The is the only major US paper that covered the story (two, if you could an editorial hidden behind the firewall on Times Select). There are articles on the websites for and , but both of those focus on the finding that suicide bombs are felt to be the greatest threat. They both completely miss the main point of the article, which is that we are losing the war on terrorism.

There is one mainstream press article that was not picked up by Google News, perhaps because it is a Times Select article. That is an editorial at the NYT by Bob Herbert: The Wreckage in the China Shop. The Peking Duck kindly reproduced it in full, as did Ed Strong, and .

The Blogosphere does a better job. Hilzoy at covers the issue nicely, as does David at . Hilzoy found that hardly any conservative bloggers covered it.

Winston, writing on , has this to say:

Good liberal that I am, I spend a lot of time second-guessing my own political opinions. So the results of the survey are a kind of good news-bad news thing from my perspective. The good news: I'm not crazy. The bad news: I (and liberals in general) appear to be pretty much right about the efficacy of the Bush administration's approach to our efforts against terrorism.

The author of The Long Goodbye puts this in the context of the overall Republican strategy of trying to turn the G.A.P.W.O.T. into a political advantage, as does Bob at Old Hickory's Weblog. gives a similar treatment on . Oddly, there are only 24 comments there. (Many articles on HuffPo get hundreds of comments.)

Ford Bell's (Minnesota) senatorial campaign blog, Blog for Bell, adds this perspective:

So how did we ever get into this mess? Theories abound but it's clear that the right has successfully "mau-maued" the media into providing favorable coverage of their wars on terror.

I don't like to think that Ford Bell is correct about this, but judging from the underwhelming media response to this important article, I have to agree with him.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link | | |


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