Fishy Tales

29 July 2005

Rumours of War

Words matter.

I was inordinately pleased to read that the US Government is to abandon the phrase "War on Terror".
A Whitehouse spokesman clarified:

The 'war' is more than a military response, it is a battle of ideas and a struggle against extremism, and all aspects of the US Government and its allies around the world need to be called upon in fighting it. In Afghanistan, the extremist Taleban regime no longer has a base of operations, a clearly identified location that requires a war ... It's a different situation again in London where you've got, say, a second generation British Muslim influenced by the preachings of a radical cleric.
Absolutely. When one key "tactic" may be to engage disenchanted sections of the electorate (e.g. through electoral change and by providing more direct democracy) the language - and thus approach - of war is not only inappropriate, but counter-productive. If you try to force integration the result is likely to be further disintegration. You can't impose freedom; you can only set aside and protect the space in which it can thrive.

Irwin M. Stelzer clearly sees as a weakness
...the unwillingness of the majority of the British people to recognize that they are indeed in a war. The flak-jacketed, heavily armed men and women lining my road to Heathrow last week were cops, not troops. America is at war, Britain is playing cops and criminals.

[Blair] is the prisoner of a dominant political class that is preventing Britain from responding to the threat the nation faces--and that threatens the durability of the Anglo-American alliance.

[My emphasis]
And Larry Elder (thanks for the reference, Anon) sees the current situation as an almost apocalytic war, and so defined by Muslim law:

Islamic Sharia law says Muslims must present non-Muslims with the three choices from Sura 9:29 of the Koran: conversion, submission to Islamic rule with second-class status and a special tax called the jizya, or death.

For those of us who support freedom, minority rights, women’s rights, religious freedom, rule of law, transparent government, and separation of religion and state — they want mass suicide. Nothing less.

Strong stuff. Not to mention scaremongering. Check out my old mate Osama Abdallah (again), who would, I reckon, take exception to Mr Elder's somewhat selective use of the Quran.

In "Terrorism: not who but why?" Turi Munthe looks at and untangles the primary causes of recent terrorism, and proposes future policies that may help remedy the situation. Unsurprisingly, none of these involve acts of war. Such idealism, eh?


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