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The Forum > Article Comments > War on terror or a war of words? > Comments

War on terror or a war of words? : Comments

By Chris Devir, published 27/7/2005

Chris Devir argues terrorists muct be exposed for what they really are: criminally-minded individuals.

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Fear is a very potent force in human behavior and can be used to sell newspapers or political position. I think is a point you are making. The other is the tendency of people to take resources, space iron ore strategic position etc for themselves and then defend it on various grounds, ‘we will bring democracy to the chained, Christian principles to the heathen’ again etc. Here assuming superiority of some kind, obviously being democratic or Christian themselves, must rank highly but arguments become wordy as theory of truth past history etc are brought to the argument.
Here perhaps the answer lies with an International Court of Justice. Okay such exists but is ill supported by those claiming exceptional position. Economic or military power or honesty or, again etc, which allows them to be treated differently. The correction is not obvious in part because firstly political support can be engendered, by adopting a believed position or a belief trotted out for the advantage it has and using this, aided by sound bites, to sway the electorate. In a democracy this means only convincing some 455 of the electorate. The media often reports such stances uncritically enhancing sales as well as the leader. Attending to the causes of terrorism or other social ill might be useful. Did the West make a mistake in handing Palestine to the Zionists on the grounds it was uninhabited a view eagerly seized upon. Or again should ‘more productive or better educated or more religious or again etc be given or allowed priority which itself voids our supposed ideas of honesty fair play again etc.
So we are back with the law which seems to work reasonably well within nation states which unfortunately do not seem prepared to give up much of the particular power that may belong to them. Again circular.
But force, as solution is also circular as is being found in Iraq. Name and kill a nominated terrorist, those using theforce supplying the definition of terrorism, and more are found to replenish the space made by those killed.
Posted by untutored mind, Wednesday, 27 July 2005 11:53:00 AM
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When put into perspective the physical damage done by terrorism in the west is not significant and is well out of proportion to the effort directed against it. Proponents of the war on terror would point out that the toll would be much higher if it were not for the war, and whilst this is true it is still unlikely that terrorism in the west would account for more deaths than things like animal bites and lightning strikes. As Chris points out, the primary goal of terrorism is to inflict psychological damage, and in this category the toll due to terrorism is far greater than that of any other potential cause of death.

A significant error of western governments is that they have focussed primarily on minimising physical damage, but in doing so have maximised the psychological harm caused by terrorists and thus have played into their hands. The best solution would be to focus more on the causes of terrorism, but this seems to be too difficult. An alternative would be to conduct a war on psychological terror; this could be done if the media provided more restrained and balanced reporting, the left and the right stopped trying to use terrorism to score points off each other, and governments prioritised and managed issues according to their real impacts rather than their perceived impacts. On second thoughts, the alternative sounds impossible, it might be easier to solve the problems in Afghanistan, Israel, and Iraq !
Posted by AndrewM, Thursday, 28 July 2005 8:21:39 AM
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Thanks to ‘Untutored Mind’ and ‘AndrewM’ for taking a neutral course and pointing out the way to handle this rotten global situation.

If the killing contest needs a body count, as “Untutored Mind” points out, George W’ and his allies are well in front by miles. Also going back through history the barbarian West is well in front by incalculable miles - even without the six million Jews being killed by our Anglophile cousins, the German Nazis, where proof can be shown how certain German Christian Bishops stood by and let it happen, as did members of the Holy Roman Church in Italy.

Maybe if there really is a fair God up there as both warring sides seem to insist, it might be a good idea to use the Canadian philosopher, John Ralston Saul’s suggestion to let Him or Her take a view from up high over the Middle-East.

We smart-arse Westerners might indeed be surprised, especially our Christian Right wingers who could really fulfil Socrates recommendation of “Out with the Gods and in with the Good”. While the Gods in Socrates’ day were patterned on top brass families writ large in the sky, the Gods of our prayerful rightwingers these days, are 1 - The God of Marketing - 2- the God of Prosperity - 3 - the God of Unipolar Power - and 4 - and the one called by some researchers the Generic God, which could be used by any political party, with the consent of many of our modern churches, to blatantly swear on the Bible before a political session, that whoever wins the show of hands, must be the logic our Generic God would agree with.

The way our humans are behaving with Islamic terrorists blowing up trains with bombs that can fit in a haversack, and certain religous cranks in America half-hoping things might get worse so a Saviour might drift down to fix things up, the mind boggles about which side a Saviour might take, especially if the Saviour followed the doctrine of the Sermon on the Mount
Posted by bushbred, Thursday, 28 July 2005 4:43:50 PM
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A front-page spread yesterday in the only public newspaper in our city of Perth, gets to the point of this seething problem of Islamic terrorism. Double-standards in global politics towards Islamics is part of the sub-theme. The target of course, is our Anglicised Trilogy, Australia, Britain and America. From one who has done an intensive study of Western history and philosophy beginning from Ancient Greece, it was hoped that suddenly we might have learnt from the mistakes of our historical past.

Looking down the column has us researchers again harking back to the Middle-East, remembering how the Brits after W1 made promises of freedom and democracy through TE Lawrence, then the double-cross and the need to mustard gas and kill ten thousand Arabs to calm the place down and make way for BP and much cheaper petroleum. After WW2, ersatz democracy and freedom promised for the Iranians through the puppet Shah, the Shah later kicked out by an unhappy Iranian people, and the Americans more later backing Saddam’s Iraq to knock out Iran - Henry Kissinger praying that both warring parties might knock each other out. Little Israel comes next into the picture soon made dreadfully dangerous with 200 nuclear-headed rockets at the ready, with an OK from the US of A. Two hundred hundred well-primed rockets with a couple of US carriers in the Gulf, all that should be needed now to keep Iran and Syria quiet.

Much much more to report on Iraq, but time to ask our so-called democratic fair-go-minded Aussies should the Arabs be fighting back with the only means available - suicidal attacks with home-made bombs, or should they all just shutup, and accept to play us in a friendly game of cricket, soccer or baseball, and a gift of a string of McDonalds and Kentucky Fried’s across the whole Iraqi countryside, besides an erzats democratica.

Indeed, if there was a God up there, as Ralston Saul had intimated to get a view, one wonders whether the God might suggest to the Yanks, Brits and Aussies, will you ever learn?

George C, WA (Bushbred)
Posted by bushbred, Friday, 29 July 2005 5:27:25 PM
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