Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The 'war on terror' licenses a new stupidity in geopolitics

The language loved by Bush and Musharraf has translated into a global disaster bringing death and misery to millions

Simon Jenkins
Wednesday January 30, 2008
The Guardian

"....To Bush, the "war on terror" is the ruling mantra of his politics of fear. Since 9/11 gave a prop to his weakening presidency, his language has scaled new heights of alarmist rhetoric. It has validated every internal repression and every external war. "He who is not with us is against us," he cries. Terrorists everywhere are "opposing the advance of liberty ... evil men who despise freedom, despise America and aim to subject millions to their violent rule".

As the sociologist Ulrich Beck has written, "properly exploited, a novel risk is always an elixir to an ailing leader". By declaring a threat so awful as to be intolerable, a politician can limit the liberties of a free society in the name of risk-aversion. Musharraf utters hardly a sentence that does not contain the word terror.....

This so-called war on terror has filled the pockets of those profiting from it. It has killed thousands, immiserated millions and infringed the liberty of hundreds of millions. The only rough justice it has delivered is to ruin the careers of those who propagated it. Tony Blair was driven to early resignation. Bush has been humiliated and Musharraf's wretched rule brought close to an overdue end. It may be an ill wind that blows no good, but it is hardly enough."

No comments: