Friday, February 10, 2006

The Problem with the "Terror" Thingy

Rather a weak post by the estimable(?) Warren Whipple ("former Editor of Creative Loafing's Adult Scene", whatever that is/was). Warren is clearly confused, and writing this essay has done nothing to clear up that confusion. But he strikes at the heart of something that's bothered me for a long time: how can we be at "war" against a tactic?

I understand that we are presently engaged in a "War on Terror". Four and a third years have gone by and I'm still the slowest guy in the room. I simply do not get it. You can't be at war against a tactic; you have to be at war against somebody or something. Even the highly touted and extremely successful "War on Drugs" has some semblance of a target.

On September 11, 2001, we were attacked by a group called Al-Qeida, or somthing. They had declared war on us, the US, and carried out an act of war on us. Funny, but we didn't declare "war" on them back. We declared "war" on anybody that used the tactics that they used, whoever they may be, wherever they may live. In legal jargon, this would be termed an opinion that is "overbroad".

Those hawks that excoriate us doves for our naivete regarding the new face of conflict and the dangerous, dangerous world we live in should do a better job of explaining how this is supposed to work. To me, declaring War on Terror is as silly as the whole North Korean "juche" thing - a self-contained miasma of circular logic which only the brainwashed would truly "believe."

The War On Poverty was also a vague war on a concept, and was an early example of playing fast and loose with what constitutes a "war". But to my knowledge, nobody was actually the target of ACTUAL acts of war in the War On Poverty.

Also, while one may argue that the War On Poverty may not have succeeded (poverty still exists), this contention illustrates well how all of these wars on concepts are doomed to failure. We talk about benchmarks in the Iraq war/reconstruction/whatever, but how will we ever know we've "won" the War On Terror? Is there some "Strategy for Victory Over Terror" document I'm unaware of?

And another thing: What about the bullies that patrol the hallways of every high school in America? To say they inspire terror in the hearts of nerds is not mere hyperbole. So are they terrorists too? Are we at war against them?


Post a Comment

<< Home