War on terrorism

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The phrase war on terrorism is used to justify a wide variety of actions in many countries. In Israel it is used to justify bombing apartment buildings in Gaza. In Russia it has been used to justify oppressive measures in Chechnya. In Canada it has been used to justify oppressive search measures contrary to privacy laws. In the United States it specifically refers to the perpetual global interventionism.

"During the three years in which the 'war on terror' has been waged, high-profile challenges to its assumptions have been rare. Much of the currently perceived threat from international terrorism "is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media." argues a new documentary series produced by Adam Curtis for BBC, The Power of Nightmares." [1]

Winning the war on terrorism

Reid 2007: war is "lost" in Iraq

On April 20, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said "the war in Iraq is 'lost,' triggering an angry backlash by Republicans, who said the top Democrat had turned his back on the troops. ... Reid said he told President Bush on Wednesday he thought the war could not be won through military force, although he said the U.S. could still pursue political, economic and diplomatic means to bring peace to Iraq."

Bush 2004: "fight against terrorism will not end"

On August 30, 2004, in an exclusive interview with 'Today' show host Matt Lauer, when asked whether the U.S. could win the war on terror, President George W. Bush said I don’t think you can win it.

The aftermath of September 11, 2001

This perpetual war has been promulgated by U.S. President George W. Bush as a reaction to the events of September 11, 2001, which incorporates or replaces the long-standing permanent failure of the "war on drugs" which, likewise, has many meanings in different countries.

"The Pentagon has assigned the task of tracking down and eliminating Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and other high-profile targets to Army Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin who sees the war on terrorism as a clash between Judeo-Christian values and Satan." [2]

The phrase/image War on terror is frequently used by President Bush, leading some to observe that it is impossible to carry out what is defined as "war" against an abstract noun. When various members of Monty Python began to make fun of this term and point out its implications in pieces published in prominent UK newspapers, the term disappeared from official coverage. Also, seemingly, it has the unfortunate resonance of sounding like a "war on Terra", that is, on Earth itself. In sympathy with this, some ecotage promoters began to call themselves terrists, in part to make fun of Bush's Texas accent, in which this term is indistinguishable from "terrorist".

"The word terror activates your fear. The war on terror is not about stopping you from being afraid, it's about making you afraid."—George Lakoff [3]

This does not, however, modify the fundamental insensibility of it, nor serve to hold allies together. While Canada and Germany were full participants in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, for instance, they were steadfast opponents of invading Iraq - Canadian naval forces even refused to cooperate with US forces when the former, stationed in the Gulf, were asked to interdict Iraqi traffic during the war. Canada did not join "The Coalition," whatever that is, nor did it interpret the war on terrorism as having anything to do with an attack on Iraq - nor for that matter Syria or Iran.

In another view, "Reviewing the background to US sponsored Argentinian and Israeli terrorism reveals how the fictional 'war on terror' is just another pretext for the pillage of Latin America by the US government and its favoured multinational corporations."

Consistent with the duplicitous nature of the Junior Bush Regime, a United Nations commissioned study, the Arab Human Development Report 2003 finds that the "war on terrorism" has actually pushed radical political groups to seek change by violence. [4] The "war on terrorism" is actually creating terrorism, not reducing it.

"With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the U.S. lost the pretext of 'communism' for its intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean - other than Cuba - and it quickly assumed the 'war on drugs' as an excuse for military presence. And after 9/11, the pretext for intervention became the 'war on terrorism'," notes long-time independent researcher and Latin America expert GeorgeAnn Potter, a professor at the Catholic University of Bolivia. [5]


"The unhappy truth is that the net result of the war on terror, so far at least, has been more war and more terror", says Gareth Evans, former Australian foreign minister and head of the International Crisis Group. [6]

Charley Reese observed on January 19, 2004, that

  • All the time the Irish terrorists were bombing and shooting the British, Great Britain never felt the necessity of declaring a worldwide war on terrorism. It went after the Irish terrorists.
  • When bombs were going off in Paris some years ago, the French didn't say everyone must fight terrorism. They went after the guys who were planting the bombs.

War on Terrorism and Free Trade

OAKLAND, CA - August 26, 2003 - What do the "war on terrorism" and "free trade" have in common? According to a new report by Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, they are the two formidable pillars of U.S. foreign policy, custom-fit to help privatize the world's resources for its corporations and a matter of growing concern with the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial in Cancun, Mexico.[7],[8]

Also see Food First article The War On Terrorism, Labor And Democratic Rights published June 29, 2002.

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