Fighting Words and False Promises

For almost five years, the “war on terror” has proved to be a false metaphor that has led to counterproductive and self-defeating policies. A misleading figure of speech has been applied literally to unleash a real war on several fronts, including Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed, enraging millions around the world.

Yet al-Qaeda has not been subdued, as was shown by the recent plot to blow up United States-bound commercial flights from London. That plot, which could have claimed more victims than the 9/11 attacks, was foiled by the vigilance of the British intelligence authorities. Clearly, it won’t be the last.

Unfortunately, the American public accepted uncritically the war metaphor as the obvious response to 9/11. Indeed, even now, when it is widely admitted that the invasion of Iraq was a blunder, the “war on terror” remains the frame into which American policy has to fit. Most Democratic politicians, too, subscribe to it for fear of being branded as weak on defense.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/nkNbnDC;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.