Consider these astonishing statistics recently released by the State Department (courtesy of the Associated Press). Wow:
Extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria unleashed a savage rise in violence between 2013 and 2014, according to new statistics released by the State Department. Attacks largely at the hands of the Islamic State and Boko Haram raised the number of terror acts by more than a third, nearly doubled the number of deaths and nearly tripled the number of kidnappings.
The figures contained in the department's annual global terrorism report say that nearly 33,000 people were killed in almost 13,500 terrorist attacks around the world in 2014. That's up from just over 18,000 deaths in nearly 10,000 attacks in 2013, it said. Twenty-four Americans were killed by extremists in 2014, the report said. Abductions soared from 3,137 in 2013 to 9,428 in 2014, the report said.
Put simply, in countries where Boko Haram and ISIS are ascendant, terrorist attacks — and terrorism-caused deaths and kidnappings — increased markedly during this one-year period, especially in the Middle East. Many also perished in West Asia and Africa. However, among the American victims in 2014 were journalists James Wright Foley and Steven Sotloff, both of whom were beheaded by ISIS radicals.
And while these heinous and unspeakable killings later prompted the president to deliver a speech pledging to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the fanatical organization, he recently conceded that the White House does not have a “complete strategy” in Iraq to bring about that much-desired outcome. Public opinion, meanwhile, has moved decidedly in favor of sending ground troops into the region to combat these threats — and at least one GOP presidential candidate has made foreign policy and national security the touchstones of his campaign.
Bottom line: Little doubt remains that groups like Boko Haram and ISIS are growing more dangerous, expansive, and emboldened. The statistics speak for themselves.