< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: How Great is the Terrorist Threat?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

How Great is the Terrorist Threat?


In the most recent edition of Foreign Affairs, there is a roundtable discussion on how great a threat terrorism truly is to America. On one side of the debate is John Mueller, who argues that the hype of the terrorist threat is overblown by politicians for political gain. On the other side are multiple scholars arguing against such claims, but the whole things is an interesting read.

A link to the discussion can be found by clicking here, while a link to Mueller's article can be accessed by clicking here.

I thought one of the most interesting statistics came from Mueller's article when he writes:

But while keeping such potential dangers in mind, it is worth remembering that the total number of people killed since 9/11 by al Qaeda or al Qaeda­like operatives outside of Afghanistan and Iraq is not much higher than the number who drown in bathtubs in the United States in a single year, and that the lifetime chance of an American being killed by international terrorism is about one in 80,000 -- about the same chance of being killed by a comet or a meteor. Even if there were a 9/11-scale attack every three months for the next five years, the likelihood that an individual American would number among the dead would be two hundredths of a percent (or one in 5,000).

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