Terrorized by ‘War on Terror’

This brief article by Zbigniew Brzezinski in the Washington Post provides a useful contrast to Albrechtsen’s opinion piece. Here are the opening few lines to give you the flavour:

The “war on terror” has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration’s elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America’s psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.

The damage these three words have done — a classic self-inflicted wound — is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves.

Sadly, we too have inflicted this wound upon ourselves, albeit with somewhat less fervour.

Another article worth a read is from the excellent Tom Engelhardt. Again, a few tidbits to hopefully whet your appetite:

I came home wondering whether some Bush-era version of the old Roman formula had indeed been working. Had bread and circuses become croissants and iPods, or Bud and American Idol, or Sony PlayStation 3 and 24? I couldn’t help puzzling over the gap between public opinion on the President’s war and public action, or between the conclusions opinion polls tell us so many Americans have reached and those generally reached in Washington as well as in the mainstream media.

and

Oddly enough, as far as I can see, the only disqualification for being a pundit or expert in our TV world, when it comes to the President’s Afghan and Iraq wars (or his prospective Iranian one), is having been right in the first place, having imagined from the start something of what actually did occur — as, for instance, was the case with Nation columnist Jonathan Schell and Boston Globe columnist James Carroll, or, for that matter, any of the millions of protestors who took to the streets in early 2003.

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Don Arthur
Don Arthur
14 years ago

Whenever I hear about the war on terror I think of this quote from Eric Frank Russell:

In given conditions, action and reaction can be ridiculously out of proportion. . . . One can obtain results monstrously in excess of the effort. . . . Let

Robert
Robert
14 years ago

Interesting that Ingolf mentioned an historical perspective on terrorism.

We know it’s an age old tactic, used by various parties.

What we don’t know is how the changes in modern communication and interaction have had a bearing on its overall success these last few years. The world of communication and interaction has undergone an upheaval in the most recent moments of its long history. At peoples’ fingertips now is information and various viewpoints that surely shatter the usual frame within which those tactics were guaranteed longer term results for a perpetrator.

We’ve suffered terribly by the hands of those who’d purvey fear, one way or another, others much more so, and at those who’d use fear to make statement on how people live. But many of the world’s people have also absorbed that fear and what drives it, shared it, and churned through to a larger extent what it means, on a global scale. That global interaction doesn’t occur everywhere, obviously, yet I’d tender that the global dialogue representing variance of viewpoints and knowledge has at least drip-fed through into personal lives and vastly diminished the long term effects of purposefully utilised fear. People are aware now how Bush and Howard as examples use fear among their own people.

Maybe some would argue that modern communication has served to entrench bias and preconception. Perhaps, yet to live in a world now with knowledge barriers broken, or even just the freer floating of ideas, around the world, surely must weaken the polemical structure within which fear lives.

We’ve a way to go yet – if another big time attack occurs no doubt we’ll all swim in fear again – but I’d tender that the time for the masterhand wielding terror has its end in sight. Short of a worldly cataclysm, the antidote for fear is already sweeping the world: knowledge. That “knowledge” may be foggy more often than not, it may be confused and unreliable as well, and it may only arrive as an idea different from what someone once thought, but its means to arrive is spreading exponentially and that heralds a new world era as it comes on down.

Time for the fearmongers to take a second look.

Blatherskite
Blatherskite
14 years ago

Janet Albrechtsen is a barking mad ideological shill, whose poisonous rantings only make the situation worse.

And that is the polite version.

Kevin Schnaper
Kevin Schnaper
14 years ago

God, its so refreshing to not have to hear right wing garbage all the time.

What a bunch of nutjobs the right wing americans are for reacting to an attack by being afraid. Iraq did not posess weapons of mass destruction people! It definitely was all manipulation! In fact, since nothing is being done globally to combat so called terrorism and the Bush administration is too incompetent to do anything about it anyhow, and there’s been no repeat of 9/11, clearly the war on terror is a falsehood. It isn’t even being fought. The U.S. Defense Department budget is pure boondoggle, one pork project after another. Beyond that, there is no problem with Muslim extremists, as there are 1 billion Muslim and only maybe ten percent are militant, which is only like a hundred million or so extremists. Which ain’t much, let’s face it. Even if it were 20 percent, it still wouldn’t be much. Fact is, its a free world and Islam should be allowed to expand throughout Europe and Africa as they wish. They would certainly make those sectors more peaceful than they are now under capitalism/christianity. And Iran deserves to have Domestic Nuclear Power.

Keep up the fight club troppo!