"The year 2014 turned out to be the deadliest on record since the US government began collecting this type of data. The trend lines are sobering and don’t require sophisticated analysis:
"It becomes even more difficult to avert our eyes from the emerging human disaster when terror attacks with at least 100 fatalities are charted....
"Someone in the audience (I will let you, good reader, guess who) finally asked the obvious question: “We have reams of data, yet all the charts show a huge spike in terror fatalities. Can you name an instance, supported by good evidence, of better data making for better counterterrorism policy?”
"I heard the audience gasp, and a flicker of consternation crossed the pale faces of the presenters. They recovered quickly, however.
"The data, said one of them brightly, shows that whatever we are doing isn’t working very well....
"....The young men and women who massacred 130 innocents in the theaters and restaurants of Paris were carriers of a deadly but preventable virus. Terror researchers stood in the same relation to that horror as pathologists in the Center for Disease Control would to a severe outbreak of avian flu. They werenât interested in spectacular events: their job was to protect and immunize the population.
"A cure was possible, at least in principle. All we need is rigor and research. Whatever we have done since 9/11 hasnât worked very well, but that just means we should try harder. We should gather more data, make more correlations, test more hypotheses, until the inevitable scientific breakthrough arrives. (By then, inshallah, all the people in the room will have retired.) Persistence, of the well-funded kind, is the key.
"This, let me suggest, is the opposite of cynicism. The sophisticated minders of terror data, like the most naïve Americans, looked on the placid surface of their social relations, and discovered universal forms. Read the rest @ the fifth wavePosted by gerardvanderleun at November 24, 2015 10:26 AM