Tuesday, June 14, 2011

the price of "terrorism"

Bit by creeping bit, the price for not thinking through what "terrorism" might mean becomes apparent. Worldwide, democratic and authoritarian countries alike have used this word as a pretext not only for rounding up those who want to blow up the local post office or metro station, but also for stifling those elements of the social setting that do not conform.

In recent years, the United States has shifted its definition of what might require a warlike response from actual attacks to those who might pose a threat. Think Iraq. Think Afghanistan. The rhetoric making such involvements palatable has included such arguments as how dictatorial, nasty and undemocratic men like Saddam Hussein or entities such as the Taliban might be. When it is pointed out that there are probably 10 countries in Africa with similarly-constituted governments or when Burma and North Korea might similarly warrant invasion ... well, those are somehow different matters.

And on the back of such policy shifts, or woven into them, is the newly-minted, carelessly-defined-but-carefully-nurtured word, "terrorism."

Embedded in all of this is the fact that politicians everywhere have a vested interest in keeping the wars going. The likelihood of their getting reelected (any politician's first concern) is enhanced when the electorate is kept on edge, frightened and perhaps sorrowing over the loss of sons and daughters. Peace is defined as the absence of war ... which is nothing but a sure recipe for more war.

When reelection is assured and when business prospers, isn't a war or two worth it ... as long as my kids don't have to go? And what a fine tool "terrorism" has turned out to be.

But my question is: Whose terrorism is this?

1 comment:

  1. When you're a small fry standing up to an oppressive regime/empire you're a freedom fighter. But when you're the oppressive regime/empire those small fry are terrorists. Nothing new, just the dog and pony show of dragging your taxpayers along for the ride.