Monday, January 19, 2009

Dangerous Words: 'War on Terror'

By Christiane Brown
January 19, 2009

One phrase can divide an entire country, one phrase can circumvent 800 years of law, one phrase can justify the horrific, condone the illegal, and bankrupt a nation, both financially and morally. One phrase can kill.

Read on.


Bill from Saginaw said...

I agree that the Bush/Cheney regime used the slogan "war on terror" to both secretly and very publicly ram through disasterous right wing policy decisions. I also agree that the words in this phrase frame the national debate about war, torture, and its related atrocities in a fashion destined to slant in the direction of militarism.

I do not believe it is historically correct, however, to credit George W. Bush and a speech given by him on September 20, 2001 as the origin of waging war on terror. I'm quite sure that Ronald Reagan used this slogan, and not infrequently, in his pronouncements on international relations back in the 1980's.

Rather than trying to magically censor words, or erase recent memories from the public perception, a better approach might be to emphasize how when we fight a war on crime or a war on poverty, the use of such slogans does not mean that the government is free to bomb and strafe crack houses in densely populated urban areas with hi tech weaponry, nor stage arrest sweeps and lock up the homeless indefinitely in military brigs in the name of keeping the rest of society somehow "safe."

Words do matter. Policies, and utilizing the rule of law rather than military force, matters more.

Bill from Saginaw

timmer said...

The other party in a war needs to be clearly and accurately defined. HRC said yesterday to the State Dept. "Think outside the box".

On the State Dept. web site main page is a box with every nation state listed. The CIA Factbook also lists them. Both give an objective comprehensive description of each country.

Where in the .gov domain can I find the one, single source, objective description presenting the principal government information resource on any non-state actor that is causing us such great problems?

Thinking outside that box of countries would mean adding non-state actors. Since that would be considered recognition by some then perhaps we need a Non-State Department to deal with entities that we cannot officially define because it makes them official?

Wikipedia takes a stab at defining Al Qaeda. Where is my government's official detailed equivalent? Is it government policy to leave that description to the media and its interpretation of all the various things government says and does?

I want to see the government's objective, academic, comprehensive, best statement description of the non-state actors we are dealing with. Is that a government secret? Where can I find it? .gov website location?

Maybe the government should just default to Wikipedia if it has none.

If it has one it should be front page linked at

Know the enemy is the first step. Then we can get on with the problem. It also gives the enemy our statement of exactly what we think they are as an entity. Perhaps they would like to comment on that.

Wouldn't that be an interesting blog discussion?

I knew a guy that had a wife that could always tell him exactly what he was thinking and feeling and the reason why he did anything. He never had to tell her anything, nor could he.

Anonymous said...

There is no war on terrorism.

Perhaps Al Qaeda doesn't exist but was created by the CIA. Read this from the insightful Wayne Madsen, former naval intelligence officer: Shortly before his untimely death, former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons that "Al Qaeda" is not really a terrorist group but a database of international mujaheddin and arms smugglers used by the CIA and Saudis to funnel guerrillas, arms, and money into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan.

Read this: "Al-Qaeda,(sic) literally 'the database,' was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians," admits former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, whose Foreign Office portfolio included control of British Intelligence Agency MI-6 and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), in a column published by the UK Guardian newspaper.

Courtesy of World Affairs, a journal based in New Delhi, WMR can bring you an important excerpt from an Apr.-Jun. 2004 article by Pierre-Henry Bunel, a former agent for French military intelligence.

This is a vital portion of the Pierre-Henry Bunel article: "The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaeda. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the 'devil' only in order to drive the 'TV watcher' to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US and the lobbyists for the US war on terrorism are only interested in making money."

Yes, there are some Muslims who claim to be Al Qaeda but they just call themselves Al Qaeda in order to be part of a group that actually doesn't exist.

By the way, several Muslims including a well educated female Muslim have written that Al Qaeda has various meanings but the most common meaning to the average Muslim is "toilet bowl." Who could actually believe that a group of Muslins seeking respect and fear from people would call their organization a toilet bowl. Some members of the CIA are probably having a big laugh about their mythical terrorist group.

Anonymous said...

Christine Brown hits the nail on the head! Bravo.

The GWOT is a bigger and more pernicious fraud than was its predecessor the War On Drugs.