As the alarmism and hype about terrorism continues to be blown out of proportion, it’s nice to see scholars of political science laying out the facts. One such person is Ohio State University professor John Mueller; an expert in national security issues. I find this except from a review of his latest book “Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them (2006)” to be very enlightening:
Mueller’s book is filled with statistics meant to put terrorism in context. For example, international terrorism annually causes the same number of deaths as drowning in bathtubs or bee stings. It would take a repeat of Sept. 11 every month of the year to make flying as dangerous as driving. Over a lifetime, the chance of being killed by a terrorist is about the same as being struck by a meteor. Mueller’s conclusions: An American’s risk of dying at the hands of a terrorist is microscopic. The likelihood of another Sept. 11-style attack is nearly nil because it would lack the element of surprise. America can easily absorb the damage from most conceivable attacks. And the suggestion that al Qaeda poses an existential threat to the United States is ridiculous. Mueller’s statistics and conclusions are jarring only because they so starkly contradict the widely disseminated and broadly accepted image of terrorism as an urgent and all-encompassing threat.
And here’s an appropriate comic to follow: