posted on Jan, 17 2011 @ 12:30 PM
Cough, cough, allow me……
There is much debate about the use of the term “War on Terror” some take a literal interpretation that it is a war in the same sense that the war
in the Falklands, or the first gulf war, was a war. Others however see it as a mere catch phrase that has no other significance other than to describe
a series of operations by governments to combat the threat of terrorism, rather than a “Real war”. It is important to define accurately which
interpretation is correct because of the impact this phrase has, not only on how we treat suspected terrorists but also how our armed forces conduct
them self’s whilst operating in combat theatres where there is a terrorist threat.
Many different states have used the phrase “war on terror”, it is not a uniquely modern concept, it was widely used in the European media to
describe the anarchists in Russia, and has even been used to describe the First Barbary war of 1801. The main difference between those “wars” is
that this “War on Terror” is said to be global meaning that is not a uniquely American or even western war. Due to its global nature then, surely
a better idea would be to call it “World War 3”! However this cannot be the case because as I will explain the war on terror is not a war.
For the “War on Terror” to be a real war it would have to have a defined enemy however there is no universally accepted definition of terrorism.
What is generally accepted is that terrorism a tactic used as a means by a group to threaten a population to bring about favourable change for the
aggressor usually through violent means. This now means that the “War on Terror” is a war against a tactic and not a state or group. In other
words it is a war against an intangible enemy who can never be caught or hurt as it bears no physical entity, therefore how can one possibly wage war
against it. In addition to this it also gives immense strength to the enemy that is multiplied by their passion for their cause.
If the “War on Terror” was a real war then the rules of war as set out under the Geneva Convection would have to be followed, however this is
impossible as the enemy “terrorism” has no physical entity to it. For example if a terrorist is captured under the Geneva convection it is the
responsibility to inform the opposing side of his capture. But this cannot be done because there is no single person leading all terrorists or a
direct link to any leaders of specific terrorist groups. A person reading this will say “they don’t abide by the Geneva Convection so why should
we”. I would canter the argument by simply saying that they haven’t singed and you have, it is therefore your responsibility to conduct yourselves
as is required under the Geneva Convention by law.
Then there is the other issue, the “War on Terror” has not been sanctioned by the UN or even formally declared in America as being an authorized
That should put a stop to the argument however some people still take the bizarre view that it is still a war. People who take this view, the literal
view that they are “at war with terror” have already lost the war and the argument. This is because no matter what there will always be terror,
yes you can destroy a terrorist group but you can never defeat all terrorists you can only defeat the name they fight under.
Further to this I would argue not only is the term “war on terror” a false metaphor it is a dangerous one. By declaring a war on a tactic rather
than an enemy one is in fact declaring a state of perpetual war, as terrorism itself can never be defeated. When does it end, how do we define
“success”, if Bin Laden was say killed tomorrow, that would not be a end to terrorism or even violent Islamic extremism. The term “war on
terror” locks us in a unwinnable war that will only get worse.
This term is also dangerous in that it could be inadvertently be fuelling violent Islamic extremism. Some may see it as a war against Islam rather
than a war ageist terror and this gives Islamic justification for violent Jihad. Adding to this that the main target of the war on terror is
predominantly Islamic communities will on fan the flames of this problem along with the presence of NATO forces in Islamic states. They see it as a
humiliation that has to be defended in the name of God.
Under the banner of the “war on terror” civil liberties have been eroded with legislation such as the ubiquitous, if somewhat ironically named,
Patriot Act. Then we have the stories we are all too familiar with of domestic signal intercepts and other forms of espionage all carried out under a
false war that disproportionally target innocent civilians. The greatest of evils have been carried out under the pretence of the war on terror such a
violent torture again this only encourages violent Islamic extremism as they are the main target.
Perhaps a better phrase to have used would have been to call it “war against Al’Qa’Ida” this way you have a defined enemy that can be
defeated, and arguably already have. A better way to have waged a war on terror would have been to take a zero tolerance policy towards terrorism
ageist interests of the state as was in place before 9/11. Now the policy seems to promote the targeting off all terrorist actions with the Islamic
community being alienated.
It is my opinion that the war on terror is no more than a nice catch phrase for politicians to use to appease the ignorant of society who want
immediate action against an opponent they do not understand. It’s only real function is to provide an umbrella term of a series of both overt and
covert operations globally combating the tactic of terrorism.