Sen. Tim Kaine said during Tuesday’s debate the threat of terrorism is lower than ever, even though deaths from terrorism both in the U.S. and worldwide are at their highest levels since 9/11.
In the middle of Tuesday’s debate, the Democratic vice presidential nominee was pressed about whether he thought the world was safer from terrorism after the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Kaine responded by indicating the world was much safer under his leadership.
“The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways because bin Laden is dead,” Kaine said. “[It] has decreased in some ways because the Iranian nuclear weapons program has been stopped. The terrorist threat to United States troops has been decreased in some ways … but there are other parts of the world that are challenging.”
But the numbers don’t seem to back up Kaine’s general optimism about the world’s safety. In the year 2014, a staggering 32,700 people were killed worldwide due to terrorism, more than double the amount killed in 2013 and three times as high as the number of deaths in 2009, when Obama took office. Deaths in 2015 were slightly lower. at 28,328, but that was easily enough to be the second-most this millennium.
While deaths declined slightly worldwide, deaths in the U.S. and Western Europe have remained at their highest since 2001. The past 12 calendar months have seen major attacks in Paris (130 killed), Nice (86 killed), San Bernardino (14 killed), and Orlando (49 killed), along with several smaller incidents.