Terrorism Archives

It's World AIDS Day; Have We Truly Forgotten the Victims?

By Michael Fumento

World AIDS Day has rolled around again, amid charges by C. Everett Koop that "HIV is no longer on the public's radar screen, and the result is deadly serious." So the 94-year-old former Surgeon General told the 2010 National Summit on HIV Diagnosis, Prevention and Access to Care in late November. The disease is becoming "the forgotten epidemic," he claimed, causing a dangerous "growing sense of complacency."

AIDS forgotten? Sure, like Sarah Palin is forgotten.

As I observe in my Forbes.com piece today, "On World AIDS Day, Let's Remember the True Forgotten Victims," The term "HIV" brings up over 100 million Google hits in just the past year. Nor is it even an epidemic. U.S. AIDS cases peaked 17 years ago, then plummeted to a steady "endemic" level within three years. Worldwide, a UNAIDS report released last week states the epidemic peaked 11 years ago in terms of cases, with infections peaking much earlier.

Yet HIV/AIDS will receive over $3 billion in the 2011 federal research budget. That doesn't include an entirely separately-funded "infectious disease" category. Granted, it's shy of the 100 billion gagillion that Dr. Evil wanted in order to ransom the earth, but:

  • HIV/AIDS gets about $200,000 per patient death in the NIH research budget, according to calculations from the FAIR Foundation (Fair Allocations in Research). We spend 21 times more per AIDS death than cancer death. Pancreatic cancer will strike about 43,000 Americans this year and is essentially a quick death sentence. It gets one percent of the funding per death as AIDS.

  • Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, are the nation's sixth and 14th-leading causes of death respectively, yet HIV/AIDS gets 34 times and 25 times more per fatality respectively.

  • The disparity is all the worse when trends are considered. While AIDS cases and deaths remain level, those of Parkinson's are inexorably climbing while those of Alzheimer's are flying off the chart.

  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis are the ninth leading cause of death in this country, causing three times as many deaths as AIDS. Compared to those 100 million Google hits for AIDS over the past year, "nephritis" got just 1.3 million. Far more importantly, the Medline database lists fewer than 2,000 total published medical papers on nephritis, compared to 21,000 on HIV/AIDS in just the past year.

Further, the vast majority of federal AIDS spending can't possibly lead to a cure or vaccine or prevent a single new case. Of the approximately $26 billion budgeted this year for HIV/AIDS, only 11 percent will go for research and 3 percent for prevention. The rest is care, cash, and housing assistance.

Federal non-research AIDS spending far exceeds the combined research grant budget for all diseases combined - including AIDS! This even as NIH has to turn away over three-fourth of grant applicants.

It's Koop who's worried about being forgotten. So let's indulge him. Let's recall that he was among the worst perpetrators of AIDS mass hysteria, which I first debunked in a 1987 article and then my 1990 book The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS, including popularizing the term "heterosexual AIDS explosion." The lesson here, Koop said in his talk with no hint of irony, is "If you tell people the truth, in a very factual way, they will act."

No, the lesson is you can indeed fool most of the people most of the time. And then become a hero for it - even as the entire nation pays a horrible price for it for perhaps generations to come.

December 1, 2010 04:51 PM  ·  Permalink

No, the Pakistani Taliban aren't finished off. But it's the time to do it.

By Michael Fumento

There is talk that the reported death of Hakimullah Mehsud, courtesy of a drone-fired Hellfire missile, may prove devastating to the Taliban in Pakistan. That's especially so in combination with low public opinion of the group, successful Pakistani army attacks in South Waziristan, and the killing of Mehsud's predecessor courtesy of another one of those fine Hellfires.

Roach bomb!

"If he's gone, it's a fatal blow," said Imtiaz Gul, director of the Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. "At one point, the Taliban had a lot of momentum and a charismatic leader. Now they've been uprooted and lost all credibility."

Yeah, well don't write that obit just yet.

Since my first article written from Afghanistan where I embedded in 2007, I've been saying that the conflict needs to be seen as the Afghan-Pakistan war. Pres. Obama, to his credit, clearly sees it that way. But the massive Pakistani army, one of the largest in the world, continues to allow the Taliban to have a base of operations in North Waziristan.

It's an old cliche but a fitting one, that if you leave part of a cancerous tumor it will eventually grow back to its original size. The Pakistanis claim to be exhausted from their struggle in the south. Tough. They owe us big time for all the aid we've given them and continue to give them, for having supported the Taliban in the first place, and even for giving nuclear technology to rogue nations like North Korea.

Obama needs to crack the whip and get the Pakistanis to root out the roaches from their last nest.

February 2, 2010 11:47 AM  ·  Permalink

Huckabee's "apologies" for Bhutto death probably bad choice of words

By Michael Fumento

Many bloggers are attacking GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee who, reacting to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, expressed "our sincere concern and apologies for what has happened in Pakistan." Apologize for what, they're asking.

I'm no Huckabee fan, but my first reaction was that Huckabee meant "regrets" or "sympathy" when he said "apologies." In many languages the same term is used for both of these words. For example, in German you can apologize or sympathize with an expression that translates to: "It's to my regret." In French, a way of saying "I regret it" as in "I regret we don't sell that type of photo film" translates literally to "I excuse myself."

Indeed, the Huckabee campaign later tried to explain he "intended to extend his deepest sympathies to the people of Pakistan when he used the word 'apologies.'" So he seems to realize that he made a faux pas even if he's not entirely sure why.

December 28, 2007 12:03 PM  ·  Permalink

Hollywood's War on War on Terror, my piece in the NYSun

By Michael Fumento

Critics have labeled the new movie "Rendition" a "political thriller." Thriller? Maybe. "Political?" Absolutely.

As I write in the NYSun, it's merely the latest in an unbroken series of major films about the war on terror that range from those seeking to assure us that Islamist terrorism isn't the threat we might think, to those depicting the terrorists as no worse than those who fight them.


Tom Clancy's "The Sum of all Fears," when made into a film, converted Islamist terrorists into an Austrian neo-Nazi. How's that for realism? The reason for the change was an explicit kowtow to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a supporter of Islamist terror activities.

In "Babel," the accidental shooting of an American tourist is treated as a terrorist act; but in the end the only "terrorist" killed is a cute little boy.

"Live Free or Die Hard" makes you think at first that Islamist terrorists are the threats. Turns out it's an evil cyber-villain with a beautiful Kung Fu sidekick who once worked for . . . the DHS!

In "The Kingdom," we find out in the final seconds of the film that FBI agents sent to Saudi Arabia to track down the killer of 200 American civilians are on the same moral footing as the terrorists they tracked.

In "Rendition," a clearly innocent American "family man" born is Egypt is snatched from U.S. soil and shipped to a country where torture is allowed. And torture they do!

The predictable excuses don't wash.

1. "Hollywood just wants to make money. If we want to send a message, we use Western Union." Right. "Babel" lost money and so will "The Kingdom." "Rendition" is already a flop.

2. "Islamic terrorists are unsellable villains." Right. They routinely explode bombs in markets and launch chlorine gas attacks. They build torture chambers and make and display videos of beheadings in which the victim screams in agony as his head is sawed off with a dull knife. Even their foiled plots are often bizarre, such as Richard Reid's "shoe bomber" attempt. These guys are a scriptwriter's dream. Quentin Tarantino couldn't think this stuff up.

3. "We don't want to stereotype Muslims or Arabs." Right. Nobody suffers more from Islamic terror than Muslims themselves. Islamist terrorists everyday kill and maim Iraqis and Afghans. Now they've blown up at least 136 Pakistanis greeting former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. All were Muslims.

Truly, Hollywood has declared war on the War on Terror.

Some of Michael Fumento's combat footage from Iraq can be viewed on the History Channel over the Veterans' Day weekend.

October 25, 2007 11:31 AM  ·  Permalink

One cheer for Obama's call for attacking Pakistan

By Michael Fumento

Barack Obama is taking heat from the right over his comments that if elected president he wouldn't hesitate to attack al Qaeda in Pakistan to disrupt its safe havens.

But give Obama this, he is the first candidate (that I know of) who has called the Pakistanis to task for allowing al Qaeda and other international Islamist terror groups to operate there with impunity. Western Pakistan today is what Afghanistan was on September 10th. Terrorists currently operate in Afghanistan but there's little evidence they operate out of it. SOMEBODY in some way needs to clear out the Pakistani rat's nest and if Obama stirs debate as to how, all power to him.

I'm also tired of the black-white fallacy of "Musharraf or an Islamist" as Pakistani president. Musharraf overthrew a democratically-elected prime minister who has shown no inclination that I know of towards Islamism. There's no reason to believe Islamists would win in a free election. What's clear is we need somebody with the balls (or ovaries, perhaps) to clear out western Pakistan and Musharraf does not.

August 3, 2007 11:37 AM  ·  Permalink

Anti-terrorism equals racism

By Michael Fumento

After I blogged on the utter lack of anti-Islamist terrorist movies, the aptly-named "World o' Crap" blog accused me of being a racist for pointing out that the good guy FBI deputy director in the latest Die Hard movie looked Arabic (presumably to reinforce that this was not an anti-Islamist movie) and noted the actor is from New Zealand. But:

1. How my saying he looked Arabic has anything to do with racism is unexplained.
2. Arabs are Caucasian. That's my race.
3. The actor is an aborigine descendant, hence his dark skin. He actually PLAYED an Arab in the movie Three Kings.

Anti-antiterrorism is alive and well in both Hollywood and the blogosphere.

July 9, 2007 06:42 PM  ·  Permalink

The "microscopic" terror threat

By Michael Fumento

Scripps Howard columnist Paul Campos, best known for his columns and book claiming that obesity is actually good for you, is now "weighing in" on terrorism. The University of Colorado law professor labels it a "microscopic risk." Maybe he's looking through the wrong end of the microscope, but he's hardly alone in his sentiments. It's a sad fact that the longer our government keeps us safe, the more cache people like Campos have. It's as if to keep these people out of denial, we need a 9/11 every 9/11. If you'd asked 100 Americans on September 12, 2001 whether we would be free of terrorist attacks at least until 2006, 100 Americans would have declared you nuts. Yet here we are. This is probably the greatest accomplishment of the Bush Administration but because it's a non-happening instead of a happening, nobody notices. What a sad reflection on our society.

January 5, 2006 04:07 PM  ·  Permalink