politics, history and the war on terror
Saturday, August 07, 2004
Why Terrorism and not Car Accidents? 

7:43 PM Eastern

Tonight's post will address questions asked in the comments section concerning yesterday's article about the exaggerated threat of terrorism. Feel free jump in before I get some time to compose an answer (getting the kids to bed comes first).

The Question:
By your account the number of deaths on 9/11 form the justification for finding the UN report incorrect in discounting terrorism. So, less than, 5,000 American deaths is right threshold. Okay. You know the counter-argument: How many Americans have died by car, iatrogenic infection, abortion, suicide -- whatever one's personal crusade may be -- in the past three years? What, by your chosen metric, makes the people who had their lives tragically, unfairly shortened by terrorism more special than the people who had their lives cut short by other means?

BTW -- I see from your blog that close family members witnessed the tragedy of 9/11. You have my sympathies -- but don't be so sure the rest of the country shares your pain to the same degree. From the West Coast, this 9/11 things IS looking a tad overblown, three years on.....

tylerh 08.07.04 - 6:31 pm

11:55 PM Eastern

The Answer:

Traffic accidents are just that, accidents, that are part of the risk of driving, and laws, safety regulation or education will not eradicate this problem, only reduce its impact. Iatrogenic infections can be reduced with proper hygienic standards, health regulations and the education of the medical profession. Abortion, while abhorrent to me, is a direction our society has chosen, and could be outlawed with proper legislation or the intervention of the courts. Suicides, while destructive to families, are in the end a personal choice and only physically harm the individual.

Radical Islamist ideologies are the modern form of the destructive totalitarian ideologies of fascism, Nazism and Communism. The estimates of the murder totals of these totalitarian governments and others are staggering.

World War II (1937-1945) 51,000,000
Mao's Communist China (1949-1975) 42,000,000
Stalin's Soviet Union (1924-1953) 20,000,000
World War I (1914-1918) 16,800,000
Nationalist China (1928-1937) 9,600,000
Russian Civil War (1917-1922) 8,900,000
Congo Free State (1886-1908) 8,000,000
Warlord China (1917-1928) 6,800,000
North Korea (1948-now) 4,600,000 (not including the Korean War)
Democratic Republic of the Congo (1998-now) 3,300,000
Chinese Civil War (1945-1949) 3,000,000
Nigeria (1966-1970) 3,000,000
Korean War (1950-1953) 2,900,000
Expulsion of Germans after World War II (1945-1947) 2,100,000
Second Indochina War (1960-1975) 1,900,000
Pol Pot's Cambodia (1975-1978) 1,800,000
Sudan (1983-now) 1,500,000
Ethiopia (1962-1992) 1,500,000
Bangladesh (1971) 1,500,000
Afghanistan (1979-2001) 1,400,000
Mozambique (1975-1993) 1,100,000
Mexico (1910-1920) 1,000,000
Armenia (1915-1923) 1,000,000
Rwanda and Burundi (1959-1995) 1,000,000
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) 1,000,000

The total of these is 196,500,000

Totalitarian governments are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people in the past century. World War II and the subsequent deaths of over 50 million people was the result of failing to stand up to the evil of fascism, the result of appeasing a bloodthirsty enemy with no regards for treaties, international law, or the sanctity of life.

Radical Islam, unlike car accidents, iatrogenic infections, abortions and suicides, is a totalitarian ideology bent on the destruction of our very way of life. It is devoted to the destruction of Western civilization. Its very nature is contrary to liberty and freedom. Radical Islam does not care if your politics are left, center or right; liberal, moderate or conservative. Our very existence is anathema to the jihadis. We are kafir, the infidel. They cannot be reasoned with, they disdain negotiation and they have no interest in living in peaceful coexistence with us. Osama bin Laden said it himself: "The only language between you and us is the sword that will strike your necks."

As Americans we all share the liberties provided by the Constitution. With these liberties comes a great responsibility: to protect our freedom from all threats, and to stand with our fellow Americans in a time of need. Three thousand of our fellow citizens were murdered on September 11, 2001. Our nation was directly attacked by an enemy that wishes us all dead, and cares little about our political differences. As Americans, we should stand together to defend ourselves against such naked aggression, from the evil that is in front of our very faces. It should not matter if you live on the West Coast, flyover country or the East Coast. 9-11 was an attack on all Americans. And the West Coast has been targerted; al Qaeda planned to bomb Los Angeles in the Millennium plot in 1999.

Al Qaeda has attempted to obtain nuclear weapons and materials in the past, and it is believed that they will use them if they can be acquired. I have no doubt they would use them. The results of the detonation of a nuclear device on American soil would be devastating, both home and abroad. No longer would America fight the humane, tame war of rooting out Islamists and attempting to influence Middle Eastern governments to change their ways. Iraq and Afghanistan would seem as minor police actions compared to the violence this nation is capable of unleashing. The American public would demand total victory, at any cost. Any person with compassion for others does not want to see this war spin out of control, with the potential of the release of nuclear weapons and the loss of millions of innocent lives.

The answer to the question of which metric I use to classify the threat of terrorism above other causes of death is simple: History. History demonstrates that if totalitarianism is left to its own devices, the death toll rises to unimaginable proportions.

Posted by bill roggio @ 7:43 PM