October 28th, 2013
03:56 PM ET

Terrorist attacks and deaths hit record high, report shows

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog co-editor

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Washington (CNN) – As terrorism increasingly becomes a tactic of warfare, the number of attacks and fatalities soared to a record high in 2012, according to a new report obtained exclusively by CNN.

More than 8,500 terrorist attacks killed nearly 15,500 people last year as violence tore through Africa, Asia and the Middle East, according to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

That’s a 69% rise in attacks and an 89% jump in fatalities from 2011, said START, one of the world’s leading terrorism-trackers.

Six of the seven most deadly groups are affiliated with al Qaeda, according to START, and most of the violence was committed in Muslim-majority countries.

The previous record for attacks was set in 2011 with more than 5,000 incidents; for fatalities the previous high was 2007 with more than 12,800 deaths.

Headquartered at the University of Maryland, START maintains the Global Terrorism Database, the most comprehensive source of unclassified information about terrorist attacks, with statistics dating to 1970.

START, one of 12 Centers for Excellence funded by the Department of Homeland Security, plans to release its full database in December but shared its early findings after a request by CNN.

This year is expected to outpace even 2012’s record high. There were 5,100 attacks in the first six months of 2013, said Gary LaFree, START’s director, and the wave of violence shows few signs of ebbing.

In recent weeks, Al-Shabaab, a militant group based in Somalia, attacked a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, leaving 67 dead; suicide bombers killed 81 at a church in Pakistan; and the Taliban took credit for killing two police officers with a car bomb in Afghanistan.

To find and tally attacks like those, START's computers comb through 1.2 million articles from 50,000 media outlets each month with an algorithm to help identify and eliminate redundancies. Its 25-member staff then studies, categorizes and counts each attack.

START's definition of terrorism closely mirrors that of the State Department and other experts. To be counted as an act of terror, an incident has to be an intentional act or threat by a "non-state actor" that meets two of these three criteria:

• It was aimed at attaining a political, economic, religious or social goal.

• It was intended to coerce, intimidate or convey a message to a larger group.

• It violated international humanitarian law by targeting non-combatants.

Part of the observed increase in 2012 may be due to the fact that START has improved its data collection methods and is better than ever at finding and categorizing terrorism, LaFree said. But he said the dramatic rise is not just a matter of having better data.

“We are convinced that a big chunk of this is real change in the world,” LaFree said. “We’ve seen a fairly steep upward trajectory in the total of terrorist attacks and fatalities worldwide.”

Outside of small dips in 2004 and 2009, the number of attacks has steadily increased in the past decade, according to START. The upward trend increases the likelihood that 2012’s numbers are not an aberration, LaFree said.

Counterterrorism experts not affiliated with START also said attacks appear to be occurring with increasing frequency.

“There’s just a lot of killing going on along sectarian and religious lines,” said Daniel Benjamin, coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department from 2009 to 2012. “And that’s a worrisome thing.”

The reasons behind the rise are complex, experts say:

• Weak and unstable states and corrupt or ineffective governments.

• Poverty and high unemployment, particularly among young men.

• Access to more lethal weaponry and increasing use of tactics like suicide bombings capable of killing scores of bystanders.

• A spike in sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, where ancient grudges give rise to modern massacres.

• The increasing use of terrorism as a tactic in war.

“The distinction between the front line and home front has largely been erased as terrorism has become a growing feature of contemporary warfare,” said Brian Michael Jenkins, a senior adviser at the RAND Corp. and the founder of its counterterrorism program.

But Jenkins also cautioned that “terrorism” is notoriously difficult to define, and the increase in attacks does not necessarily mean the United States is “losing the war on terror.” He said it could just reflect a shift in strategy among Syrian rebels and Afghani radicals, for example.

Still, experts say the apparent increase in civilian casualties is alarming.

Gone are the days when terrorist groups like the Irish Republican Army or Italy’s Red Brigade would try to keep casualties low by issuing warnings, LaFree said.

“If you’re a terrorist group now and you want to get your message out,” he said, “the more people you kill, the more ‘successful’ you’ll be.”

Sectarian attacks - such as the pitched battles between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq, Syria and Pakistan - tend to be disproportionately deadly, said Martha Crenshaw, an expert at Stanford University and a START board member.

“Sadly, it seems to be increasingly acceptable in certain belief systems to kill as many members of the other religious community as possible,” she said. “Moral restraints seem to be eroding.”

Bombings and explosions were used in 58% of terrorist attacks in 2012, but it wasn’t always this way. In fact, START’s data also show a dramatic global shift in terrorist tactics and hot spots.

In the 1970s, most attacks were committed with guns and occurred in Western Europe. In the 1980s, Latin America saw the most terrorist acts. Beginning with the 1990s, South Asia, North Africa and the Middle East has seen steadily rising number of attacks, a trend that has accelerated in recent years.

Although terrorism touched 85 countries last year, just three - Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan - suffered more than half of 2012’s attacks (55%) and fatalities (62%).

In January, Sunni suicide bombers attacked scores of Shiite pilgrims in Iraq, killing at least 73. In February, a car bomb outside a café in Mogadishu, Somalia, left 15 dead. In March, a bombing in Thailand killed 14 and injured 340 in a commercial district.

Just eight private U.S. citizens died in attacks outside the United States in 2012, all in Afghanistan, according to the State Department. In the United States, seven people died in 11 terrorist attacks last year, six of them in a shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Despite the death of Osama bin Laden and capture of other key al Qaeda leaders, the group has exported its brand of terrorism to other militant Muslims, according to START and other counterterrorism experts.

“We’ve had success in stopping al Qaeda central,” LaFree said. “But we have been unsuccessful in stopping the message.”

Afghanistan’s Taliban was by far the deadliest group in 2012, when it launched 525 attacks that killed 1,842 people.

The second deadliest group was Nigeria’s Boko Haram, a jihadist group that orchestrated 364 attacks last year that killed 1,132 people.

The next most deadly were al Qaeda in Iraq, the Communist Party of India-Maoist, Somalia’s Al-Shabaab, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan’s branch of the Taliban.

Rhonda Shore, a spokesperson for the State Department's Bureau of Counterterrorism, said she hadn't seen START's latest numbers and couldn't comment on the report. But she offered a staunch defense of the Obama administration’s approach to al Qaeda.

“We have made great progress in our efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat the larger al Qaeda organization in recent years,” she said.

“However,” she said, al Qaeda and its affiliates “continue to present a serious threat to the United States and its interests, and we must remain vigilant as we consider the range of tools and actions available to disrupt this threat.”

In April, START compiled a separate report for the State Department that counts fewer attacks (6,771) and fatalities (11,098) in 2012 than its own report because the U.S. government uses slightly different criteria to define terrorism.

Those lower numbers still represent an all-time yearly high in the number of attacks, according to START’s database.

Despite top terrorist groups’ affiliation - sometimes tenuous - with al Qaeda, some do not fit the mold created by its former head, bin Laden, and current leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, said Benjamin, the former State Department counterterrorism coordinator.

Bin Laden was motivated by an apocalyptic vision, Benjamin said, and wanted to spark a global war between Christians and Muslims.

The power struggles in many Muslim countries, on the other hand, are driven as much by political as religious concerns, according to Benjamin and other terrorism experts.

“Al-Shabaab, for example, is a fractious and disorganized group,” he said, “and the overwhelming majority of its foot soldiers don’t care about al Qaeda. They are just fighting to stay alive.”

And while most terrorism in 2012 was committed in Muslim-majority countries, LaFree and other experts cautioned against viewing Islam itself as inherently violent.

“Not so long ago, terrorism was centered in Western Europe and Latin America,” LaFree said. “It moves. And, unfortunately, it has moved into the Muslim world right now.”

Like Benjamin, Rizwan Jaka, a Muslim leader based in Northern Virginia, said that political - not religious - motivations lay behind many acts of terrorism.

“It isn’t like they woke up and said 'I’m a Muslim; I’m going to go kill someone in a shopping mall,' ” Jaka said. “In their twisted mind, this is political retaliation.”

Still, American Muslims are working to reduce Sunni-Shiite tensions, said Jaka, a board member of the Islamic Society of North America.

The Fiqh Council of North America, an influential group that issues rulings based on Sharia, or Islamic law, released a fatwa endorsed by dozens of Muslims in 2005 categorically condemning terrorism.

More recently, the Islamic Society of North America has met with African and Middle Eastern leaders to urge them to protect the rights of religious minorities and discourage terrorism.

In September, Sunni and Shiite leaders meeting in Washington announced an agreement to set aside differences and address the “dire situation of unrest, destruction, genocide and refugees” in many predominantly Muslim countries.

“All Muslims are one nation, even if the schools of thought are diverse,” the scholars’ declaration said. “Such diversity is a source of intellectual enrichment and should not be the cause of accusations of disbelief, murder, and the desecration of sanctities.”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Afghanistan • Africa • Crime • Fatwa • Foreign policy • Iran • Iraq • Islam • Islamic law • Middle East • Muslim • Nigeria • Pakistan • Terrorism

soundoff (911 Responses)
  1. MJ

    What is Vietnam classified as where 4 million innocent civilians died? Is that genocide or terrorism? It seems we're hardly in a position to claim moral superiority given our track record of the murder of innocent civilians.

    October 28, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Now for the specifics:


      • "Most historians of the Second Indochina War concern themselves primarily with the American Phase of the conflict, 1965-73; however, many do not specify whether their estimated death tolls cover only this phase of the war or the whole thing. An asterisk(*) indicates that the number seems to cover the entire conflict rather than just the American Phase, but check the "Sources" section to see exactly which years are covered by each authority:

      •South Vietnam military ◦181,483 (Gilbert)

      ◦185,000 to 225,000 (Britannica)
      ◦220,357 (Lewy, Ency. Americana)
      ◦223,748 (Summers; also 3 April 1995 AP)
      ◦224,000 (Kutler, Olson)
      ◦250,000 (Clodfelter, Grenville*)
      ◦254,257 (Wallechinsky*, COWP [1965-75])
      ◦650,000 (Small & Singer)
      ◦[MEDIAN: 224,000]

      •North Vietnamese military and Viet Cong ◦444,000 (Ency. Americana)

      ◦500,000 (S&S)
      ◦660,000 (Olson)
      ◦666,000 (Lewy, with the possibility that as many as 222,000 (1/3) of these were actually SVN civilians mistaken for VC)
      ◦666,000 (Summers)
      ◦700,000 (COWP [DRV 1965-75])
      ◦700,000-1,000,000 (Wallechinsky*)
      ◦900,000 (Britannica; Grenville*)
      ◦922,290 (Gilbert [NVN soldiers + civilians + VC])
      ◦1,000,000 (Clodfelter)
      ◦1,100,000 (Tucker*, Official VN* [1954-75])
      ◦[MEDIAN: starred*: 1,000,000. unstarred: 666,000]

      •South Vietnamese civilians ◦50,000 (Gilbert)

      ◦250,000 (Olson)
      ◦287,000 (Clodfelter = 247,600 war deaths + 38,954 assassinated by NLF)
      ◦300,000 (Kutler; Summers)
      ◦340,000 (Lewy's estimate, with the possibility that an additional 222,000 counted as VC (above) belong in this category)
      ◦430,000 (The Sen. E. Kennedy Commission, according to Lewy, Olson)
      ◦522,000 (Wallechinsky*)
      ◦1,000,000 (Britannica [in both North and South]; Eckhardt; Grenville*)
      ◦2,000,000 (Tucker*, Official VN* [N&S, 1954-75],)
      ◦[MEDIAN: starred*: ca. 1,500,000. unstarred: 300,000]

      •North Vietnamese civilians: 65,000 (Kutler, Lewy, Olson, Summers, Wallechinsky) by American bombing.

      •USA ◦55,337 (Gilbert)
      ◦47,378 KIA + 10,799 other = 58,177 (Official US DoD, 1964-73)
      ◦58,159 (Kutler)
      ◦58,153 (Wallechinsky*, COWP)
      ◦58,000 (Britannica)
      ◦47,244 KIA + 10,446 other = 57,690 (Olson; Summers, 1961-80)
      ◦57,605 (Ency. Americana)
      ◦56,146 (Lewy: 46,498 KIA + 10,388 other + 719 MIA)
      ◦56,000 (S&S)

      •South Korea: 4,407 (Lewy, Olson, Summers); 4,687 (Wallechinsky, COWP); 5,000 (S&S)
      •Philippines: 1,000 (S&S)
      •Thailand: 351 (Lewy, Olson, Summers, Wallechinsky); 1,000 (S&S)
      •Australia: 469 (Lewy, Summers, Olson [w/NZ]); 492 (S&S); 494 (Wallechinsky); 520 (AWM)
      •TOTAL ◦1,021,442 (COWP)
      ◦1,216,000 (military only, S&S)
      ◦1,312,000 (Summers)
      ◦1,353,000 (Lewy)
      ◦1,520,453 (WHPSI: S. Vietnamese only, 1965-75)
      ◦1,637,000 (Olson)
      ◦1,721,000 (Kutler)
      ◦1,749,000 (Wallechinsky*)
      ◦1,800,000 (B&J*, 1960-75)
      ◦2,058,000 (Eckhardt)
      ◦2,163,000 (Britannica)
      ◦2,500,000 (Grenville*)
      ◦3,000,000 (1965-75, Chomsky* (1987))
      ◦>3,100,000 (Tucker*; Official VN*)
      ◦3,812,000 (Obermeyer, “Fifty years of violent war deaths...”, British Medical Journal, 336:1482, 2008*)◾margin of error: (2,207,000 to 5,942,000)
      ◾in contrast, Obermeyer cites earlier Uppsala/PRIO est.: 2,096,000

      •MEDIAN TOTALS ◦* Whole conflict: [MEDIAN of TOTALS: ca. 3,000,000] or [TOTAL of MEDIANS: ca. 2,850,000]
      ◦American Phase (unstarred): [MEDIAN of TOTALS: ca. 1,700,000] or [TOTAL of MEDIANS: ca. 1,300,000] "

      October 28, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
  2. Reality # 2

    Nature's attacks of terror or are they your god's??

    Strong circ-umstantial evidence that there is no god? (or did they all die as martyrs?)

    Number of god's creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

    1. 300,000,000 approx.

    2. 200,000,000 ?

    3. 100,000,000 approx.
    Black Death

    4. 80,000,000–250,000,000

    5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
    Spanish Flu

    6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
    Plague of Justinian

    7. 40,000,000–100,000,000

    8. 30,000,000[13]
    AIDS pandemic

    9. 12,000,000 ?
    Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

    10. 5,000,000
    Antonine Plague

    11. 4,000,000
    Asian Flu

    12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

    October 28, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I thought God created death, or at least has allowed it to happen. Fifteen out of 16 people have died. That's about 100 billion people. Seems like a lot.

      October 28, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Nature created death if you are an atheist like me. And she can be very cruel about it.

        If you are a believer, the Abrahamic creator-god is a horrible deity.

        October 28, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
  3. Sean

    Terror HOAXES are through the roof, alrighty. Be scared silly Americans, be very scared, you are playing right into the authoritarians hands! Start thinking and questioning everything you are told before it is too late!

    October 28, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Hoaxes ?? Please cite reputable references to support your claims.

      October 28, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
      • Sean

        Watch -sandy hook fully exposed
        Search "do you think, or just believe"
        Search boston bombing hoax

        October 28, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
        • Sean

          Search "sandy hook actors"

          October 28, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          Reputable sources please !!!

          October 28, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
  4. BK Moore

    This SNAFU brought to you courtesy of KBR and The Bush Family ™.

    October 28, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  5. Rational Thought

    Malala Yousafzai is right, education and peaceful engagement is the only way forward. There will never be enough drone strikes or NSA hacks to kill everyone that mistrusts and hates your arrogant miss-use of drone strikes and NSA hacks.

    The USA is creating more enemies than it can ever kill.

    October 28, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      What is the proper use of a drone strike?

      October 28, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
  6. Bob

    Fighting terrorism leads to more terrorism.

    October 28, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Give us a break !!!!!!!

      October 28, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • Mark Pajak

      The Arab Spring (more appropriate the Spring of Slaughter) shows violence in the region will happen pretty much regardless of what you do because there is injustice and also too many years have been wasted doing nothing instead of improving the lives of the people.

      October 28, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        When did the people figure out that their lives were shit and decide that they would not take it anymore? Who helped them see it and where did those people go when the shit hit the fan?

        October 28, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
  7. TheBob

    Bush destroyed America beyond recognition.

    October 28, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Some added specifics:

      Our War on Terror and Aggression:

      An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

      The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

      As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. Iraqi civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
      BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.
      The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

      25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT

      (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

      26 ) September 12, 2012
      Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

      27) Boston Marathon horror – April 2013, four dead, hundreds injured and maimed for life.

      Continued below:

      Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

      – Ditto for Abu Yahya al-Libi on June 5, 2012

      – The capture of Abu Anas al-Libi on October 7, 2013

      October 28, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
      • Tom Trainor

        You forgot to add the 200,000 innocent Iraqi babies, women and men killed by Bush and Cheney during their false invasion and attacked of Iraq and over 17K GREAT USA soldiers. All based on lies! That is CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY! Bush, Cheney, Condi, Rommie, Wolfie, Gonzales and all their pals belong at the Hague.

        October 28, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          As noted above:

          The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. Iraqi civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

          October 29, 2013 at 8:47 am |
  8. Mark Pajak

    As the population of directionless, radicalized Muslim men increases out of control due to lack of birth control, Islamic terrorism attacks will probably reach catastrophic, unheard of proportions with large parts of the planet off limits to normal people due to dangers. However, the numbers of westerners killed will pale in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of Muslim casualties. After that, let's have another conversation about the "religion of peace" and lets have a discussion if we can tolerate this to continue, or if the Islamic world has any motivation to change its ways.

    October 28, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  9. Pouncekitty

    This is 100% Obama's doing. He hated Bush more than he loved the United States. And that's the same for most lefties and Obamabots. They love Obama more than their own country.

    October 28, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      What are you talking about???

      October 28, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Observer


      Wake up. Get back to reality.

      Obama is a huge improvement over Bush and the mess he left us.

      October 28, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
  10. Watchfuliiiii

    15,500 that's half of the amount of gun deaths in the US every year.........

    October 28, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Pouncekitty

      Silly anti-gun junk. You miss the point. Just want to scream your anti-gun crap. Look, when the terrorists and criminals come for you, you'll wish you had a gun. Too bad! Use your Left wing arguments looking down the barrel of a criminal's gun. Good luck with that.

      October 28, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  11. dan

    Lol !!! Wow, so this is the modern well educated world.

    October 28, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
  12. Emmylouwho

    Am I the only person who is irritated with the mass commercials on cnn vids? It's not even different ones. I get to watch the same commercial over and over again!!!! : /

    October 28, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Major Tom

      CNN has adopted methods developed during the Vietnam war for breaking POWs. Retro, yes. But still effective.

      October 28, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
  13. karenascofield

    Not to be taken as an irreligious statement: It is better to teach people how to think well and to imagine better than what to believe. Else one toxic dualism or hate will answer to another ad nauseum for years, decades, centuries or longer. A religious or political ideological education is not the answer to terrorism, specifically. Agnosticism, atheism, Christianity, or conservativism are not the answer to terrorism. Critical thinking and imagination plus a well-rounded education are. Terrorism is a tactic fueled by toxic dualism, hate, failure of imagination, lack of critical thinking, poverty, ego dressed up as righteousness, hunger for abusive power, and other issues. Knocking off terrorist leaders in self-defense may be necessary but those heads of that hydra keep growing back or even multiply. So it's not even an ideological war. The answer is in critical thinking and imagining better, like identifying the root issues and solving them in the first place.

    October 28, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tuskerman

      You should go on a speaking tour throughout the Muslim world. And if you arrive back, in one piece, I will die of shock!!

      October 28, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
      • karenascofield

        You didn't really read my comment did you, not in "active listening" mode anyway.

        October 29, 2013 at 12:25 am |
  14. Doris

    President Bush after 9/11: "Our God is the God who named the stars".
    How erroneous. Two-thirds of star names have Arabic names. They came from Islam's fertile period (AD 800-1100.) During that time Baghdad was the intellectual center of the world, open to people of all or no faiths. During that time were some of the greatest advances known to mankind: engineering, biology, medicine, mathematics, celestial navigation; this is the time and place that gave us numerals we use, terms like algebra and algorithm.

    Enter Imam Hamid al-Ghazali in the 12th century. The fundamentally religious period of Islam begins, and so begins the steady decline of free intellectual expression in that area of the world. Some would argue that it has since never recovered.

    As astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explains, throughout history most of the great minds give virtually no mention to any god for their discoveries and explanations. (Ptolemy, Isaac Newton, Laplace, Huygens, Galileo.) That is, until they reach the problem they feel they cannot and will never fully tackle. Dr. Tyson demonstrates this with writings from the great minds in his talk "The Perimeter of Ignorance".

    Perhaps that is all God has ever been – a placeholder for discomfort or frustration over the unknown; an excuse of last resort when, for one reason or another, one gives up investigation. It is at that point of discomfort over the unknown when one should remember what humanity has already witnessed: that today's scientific explanations were often yesterday's gods.

    "[If] the nature of... government [were] a subordination of the civil to the ecclesiastical power, I [would] consider it as desperate for long years to come. Their steady habits [will] exclude the advances of information, and they [will] seem exactly where they [have always been]. And there [the] clergy will always keep them if they can. [They] will follow the bark of liberty only by the help of a tow-rope." –Thomas Jefferson

    October 28, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Q-Man

      "Our God is the God who named the stars".

      I don't think that means that God literally named the stars the names we call them today. Also, why can't I find any reference to George W. Bush saying this? The only thing I can find is Tyson claiming Bush said this. But I can't find ANYTHING at all. Oh well, the quote is very old and not really relevant to the article.

      October 28, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Well, if GW didn't say it he ought to've. Hyperbole and God just sort of go together in his mind, I imagine.

        October 28, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  15. Raymond

    USA has about 50 000 murders per year. Let's focus here and stop creating propaganda.

    October 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • jimmy

      so we can't talk about terrorism because there are more murders in our Country? Does that mean we can't talk about AIDS because Cancer kills more people per year.

      October 28, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  16. Richard

    It seems most Americans support terrorists if the comments on CNN and against NSA come from Americans. If their is someone out there with a list of all terrorists and future terrorists give the list to the government and quit keeping it a secret. Otherwise who do we need to suspect...EVERYONE duh! As long as we say, if you are an American, pretend to be an American, look American or are are friend, pretend to be our friend, then dear terrorists you can get away with murder and WE APPROVE of it!

    October 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Zeta

      We need to concentrate on the domestic terrorists here in the US: the causes of murder and mayhem on our own soil. I don't CARE what's happening in some stupid burg of Baghdad. I DO care what's happening in our own burgs here!

      October 28, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
      • Tom Trainor

        TOTALLY AGREE! Now one of our main terrorism comes from BAD COPS! Each day they abused, maimed or kill innocent civilians for not reason at all. Then they get to go home free or get fired but are still free.

        October 28, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  17. JimiJoni

    One mans terrorist is another mans revolutionary, and your likely correct. Someone or some group is clearly pulling the strings here and it seems things are only likely to get worse. We should have transitioned off of fossil fuels decades ago particularly after the 70's gas shortage debacle. We need more companies like Tesla, especially if they can make a safe, reliable & affordable vehicle for the masses.

    October 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
  18. ....

    It concerns me how a lot of the comments here are blaming all of Islam and leaving very racist, ignorant remarks. We must remember that the Islamic and Christian practices praise the same God just believe in different teachings and prophets. We also must remember that though we call these men terrorists, the US have taken taken twice as many lives (if not more) simply in retaliation. Keep that in mind the next time you want to generalize and down talk an entire group of people who have no control over each others' actions.

    October 28, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Demetri

      We need to stay the hell ouit of the ME and let them fight their own territorial tribal wars. This is complete and utter BS, and how any thinking person can possibly construe this into being the US's fault when this has been happening in the ME for centuries is beyond me.
      Don't get me wrong; I don't harbor any resentment for the Islamic countries. I do, however, get extremely tired when the ridiculous partisan pundits makes this a US failing, although we NEVER should have invaded Iraq, who are more unstable than ever, merely to satisfy a son's revenge at an imagined slight against his father. In Iraq, we are complicit. Everywhere else, not so much.
      We're no longer oil-dependent on the ME. Cut them the hell loose already.

      October 28, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • jimmy

      go ahead and cry racism because we condemn terrorism. no one's buying it anymore.

      October 28, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  19. djr777

    wow 3500 plus lives for more than a million by now and I notice that it is all over seas now and not on US soil for terrorist attacks now eh...all you guys need to worry about in the US is mass shootings of terrorism from your own rather than from the middle eastern countries now...oy

    October 28, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  20. JimiJoni

    “If you’re a terrorist group now and you want to get your message out,” he said, “the more people you kill, the more ‘successful’ you’ll be.” – REALLY? SHOULD WE BE MAKING A POINT OF THIS?

    October 28, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.