Friday, January 11, 2008

British ditch "War on Terror" language

"The people who were murdered on July 7 were not the victims of war. The men who killed them were not soldiers," Macdonald said.

I've long asserted that you can't have a War on Terror, because the combatants are criminals, not military, and that's how you deal with them. Holy hell, some sense has crept into the world, I may faint. See more in this article.

[via Shocho]

[thanks to Estu in the comments for pointing out my spelling error, I had War OF Terror as a nice Freudian Slip in the title, fixed now]

Enjoy the moments of calm,



Stu Farnham said...

The use of the term "war on terror" is one of the most grievious cases of doublespeak which the current US administration has committed (the other being "Patriot Act").

Mr. Cheney has advocated tremendous expansion of presidential power since long before he was elected vice president. The use of the term "war" in this context was an attempt to assign these powers to the president in an open ended fashion.

It is a long-standing practice for the US President to take on additional powers during wartime (Lincoln, for example, suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. I do not know whether this practice has some legal basis or is simply tolerated when the country is at war.
There is also an accompanying decrease in criticism or opposition to the president nad his actions in the name of not givving aid and comfort to the enemy.
Historically, wars have been very specific: this country versus that country, usually (although less so for the last 60 years) via explicit declaration. This meant that the goals of the war were easily quantified: had this specific enemy surrendered?
The war on terror is highly nonspecific. Who is terror? In what country do they live? How do we know when one party has wond and the war has ended?
The answer is that we don't. And, if you cannot definethe connditions under which the war is over, the increases in presidential power can remain in an open-ended manner.

Enjoy your imperial presidency.

Stu Farnham said...

BTW, was the use of "War OF Terror" in lieu of "War ON Terror" in the entry title intentional? Either way, it was brilliant!

Bpaul said...

Dude, I just checked back in at School, fixed the title.

Holy Freudian Slips Batman!!