International House of Dan: "war on terror" defined

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"war on terror" defined

I always write "war on terror" in lower case and in quotations because I don't think there is such a thing. The "axis of evil" is not made up of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers, and we are not at war with terror, just as the estate tax applies to the transfer of huge estates and not to the act of dying, and so it is not a "death tax". We are supposedly at war with terrorism, which is not a synonym of terror, but rather one cause of terror, among many others with which we are not at war. We are only at war with certain types of terrorist acts, it would seem, since Mr. Bush said in the debates that there have been no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11, but we sought the death penalty in the D.C. sniper case under terrorism laws. I also remember something about anthrax being caused by terrorist. Since I have heard no condemnation or seen any action with regard to abortion clinic bombers, or the KKK, or Timothy McVeigh style right-wing nut jobs out West, I have to assume we are also not at war with domestic terrorists, just foreign ones.

We are not, however, at war with all foreign terrorists, though, by law we only care about the ones threatening U.S. citizens or national security. Realistically, the extent of our "war on terror" vis-a-vis ETA was to keep them on our list of "foreign terrorist organizations" and to initially blame them for 3/11 so we wouldn't lose support for Iraq. An earlier list included "other" terrorist organizations, for which no action is required of us. Of Irish terrorist groups that made either list, only the RIRA made "the" list. To the extent that we are at war with terrorist organizations, we are only waging it against certain extremist Islamic fundamentalist groups that are acting against America.

Come to think of it, nobody has actually followed any procedure in order to declare a "war on terror", we have only authorized military action against particular countries. So I guess I write "war on terror" because it's easier than "military action against particular countries which we perceive to have sufficient ties to certain forms of extremist anti-American Islamic fundamentalism". I just have one question: The People Against Gangsterism and Drugs are on the list under "other", will winning the "war on terror" mean we lose the "war on drugs"?


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