New Global Terrorism Index Demonstrates US War on Terror Is Abject Failure

Australia’s Institute for Economics and Peace released a study (pdf) today in which they have tabulated terrorist attacks over the past ten years. They have developed a Global Terrorism Index which, on a country by country basis, quantifies attacks by number of fatalities, number of injuries and property damage incurred and allows for trends over time. The top three countries in the index are, in order, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the US has spent the bulk of its efforts in the Great War on Terror since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The fact remains that after over ten years of effort, over a trillion dollars spent and thousands of US troops killed, terrorism remains at greatly elevated levels in those countries compared to the level at the beginning of the study in 2002. There has been a slight plateauing of the number of attacks since its peak in 2007, but there is no real trend toward lower numbers of attacks. The top ten countries, from the report:

What qualifies as terrorism differs greatly depending on the definition employed. The definition employed here is:

the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation

The study notes that in this context, drones are excluded:

This definition excludes perceived acts of state terror, such as drone attacks resulting in civilian casualties.

It should be noted that the scale employed is logarithmic and so small differences in the terror index number reflect large differences in the numbers of attacks and fatalities. For 2011, there were 1228 incidents in the top country Iraq with 1798 fatalities while the number nine country Russia saw 182 incidents with 159 fatalities. An interactive map of the data can be found here.

As mentioned above, attacks increased greatly from 2002 through 2007 and then plateaued. The trend of attacks over time can be seen here:

The study looked at the data in an attempt to find potential causes of terrorism (emphasis in original):

Analysis has also been carried out against a range of socioeconomic data to determine what factors may be associated with terrorism. The factors that correlated the strongest with the GTI were group grievances, intergroup cohesion, human rights, and political stability.

Interestingly, even though the US embarked on its Great War on Terror in response to an attack by al Qaeda, the study found only one incident in 2011 attributed to it. However, there are many offshoots of the group which remain active:

According to GTD data, however, the al-Qa’ida organization itself was responsible for only one incident – a kidnapping – out of the 5000 terrorist incidents in 2011, while 11 of the most 20 [sic] active groups globally were al-Qa’ida linked.

So while the primary al Qaeda organization is essentially defunct with regard to terror attacks, its offshoots remain active.  In terms of fatalities, the top three groups for the time period 2002 through 2001 were the Taliban, al Qaeda in Iraq and Islamic State of Iraq. Despite all the effort by the US, its targets remain the most effective actors in global terrorism in terms of deaths.

In a rational world, this report would prompt long, careful review in Washington and a reassessment of how our country goes about trying to stop terrorism. Instead, it is more likely to result in allocation of even more lives and treasure to tactics and strategies that have proven completely useless.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

8 Responses to New Global Terrorism Index Demonstrates US War on Terror Is Abject Failure

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @JasonLeopold This is garbage. If extradited, should be tried in either D-AZ of CASD.
7mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Rick's getting out the passive voice... Revenue funding was shifted Democracy was halted Children were poisoned https://t.co/PderftWjrz
7mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @normative Come on over and visit Phoenix, we have even better weather.
22mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @banditelli Drink more beer!
51mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @banditelli Yeah, but you have to feel pretty good about what you are a part of right now.
58mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @elizabeth_joh This is awesome story. Maybe pre-Katz in your curriculum, assign students to read The Loneliest Phone Booth.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @banditelli Wait until you actually get old
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @micahflee IoPapercuts
9hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Tedards @anthony_farda @ColMorrisDavis Who gives a damn? Are you denying his record from that time?? You can cut me out of this at this pt.
10hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @IWPCHI @mock_kevin Listen, do your own research from here on out, I'm done. Believe whatever you want. From article https://t.co/3Zwgdgx0KV
10hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JimWhiteGNV @shannynmoore It is perfect. Wish I had been smart enough to think of that.
10hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @bmaz @shannynmoore Yes. I'm still laughing.
10hreplyretweetfavorite
December 2012
S M T W T F S
« Nov   Jan »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031