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The 'war on terror' ... who invented it, who owns it and all that

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by Ragusa, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    As you mentioned, a phrase like "war on terror" is very easily sidetracked, and it was. After all, the slogan value of the term "war" is exactly due to the fact that people associate it with actual war. That is also why a "war" comes with certain expectations (i.e. you must have a clear and recognizable enemy without, and win) that didn't help either. Afghanistan I think most people were ok with - it was against a government which obviously had a connection to the OBL, who is most likely the person behind 9/11 (though until we get to the bottom of it we can't know just how big his role was), so I and most people I know thought the US had some justification there. Plus, to put it simply, the US was hurting, and its people wanted vengeance. It was only to be expected that they would want to strike back, and Afghanistan was involved enough (and the war started soon enough after 9/11) so that no one would mind. The whole operation also had the NATO seal of approval, and the cooperation with the Northern Alliance (sure, another pack of petty warlords, but at least they were Afghan warlords and it was their country) made it seem like the US was just conducting a military strike and not occupying the place. It was just, well, palatable. It stood to reason that if you mess like that with a superpower, you get what's coming to you. The Empire Strikes Back, as it were* - because hey, evil or not, that's what empires do if you strike them.

    Iraq was a somewhat different case. Sure, no one I know liked Saddam Hussain. However, apart from that things were different there. Despite all the presentations, the link between Iraq and Al-Queda were tenuous at best. The US made it pretty clear that despite all that, they were going through with this - and they weren't interested in what France or Germany or the UN or heck, the entire world said, because they knew best - and the other countries hated them, anyway. It might have been palatable in October 2001, when the whole world was shocked, but the US already was in Afghanistan and had gone after al-Queda, and everyone expected it to stay on its trail. To use your analogy, it was like some new small kid kicked the big one in the shins and hid behind some creep. It's ok to push aside the creep and punch the wiseguy, but it's not ok to pounce on and kick in the dirt someone else you don't like, all the while saying that everyone who doesn't join you was behind it and is a rotten sack of snot. Not exactly endearing behavior when seen from the outside, is it?

    At any rate, no, it didn't start during Clinton - the US had been doing punitive strikes for a while already, and it was Bush (and his administration) who not only escalated the response, but also changed the atmosphere in which it was perceived. I don't have a firsthand account of that, but all the talk of a pre-9/11 mindset implies that at least some Americans did think that everything changed after that act.

    *: I in no way want to compare Bush to either Darth Vader or the Emperor, though as has been noted before Cheney does have somewhat of a Sith Lord look.
     
    martaug likes this.
  2. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Let me help you out there. I made it in response to what I saw as some people (i.e. martaug) entertaining delusions about what Bush did and who then went on to blame Clinton for a policy his successor started, just as if Bush and the R's couldn't possibly do anything wrong and singularly stupid on their own. They are absolutely up to that task, as they have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt.

    I tried to explain that there indeed is a clear difference between using military force in retaliation for terrorist attacks, which is indeed not new, and a (self exalting, triumphant - and fundamentally and fatally flawed) grand strategy that involves 'reshaping regions' by use of America's superior military force to create a 'Benevolent Global Hegemony' - and practical steps to put it into reality (i.e. invading Iraq) - all of which is vastly more ambitious than everything Clinton ever did.

    I wanted to say, in a nutshell, that pre-dating the 'War on Terror' into the Clinton years, because Clinton used the military too, is asinine in the extreme.

    That said, I am well aware that the 'War on ________' is a metaphor for a sustained struggle, but that doesn't change a thing about the above mentioned points. Those 'wars' are of course primarily political rhetoric. But then, metaphors are open to interpretation. Bush has shown that they can be taken literally, with disastrous results.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  3. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    Got, it, you wanted to bash Bush. :D
     
  4. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    :p Nah, I didn't want martaug to take away from him what's rightfully his. Essentially the reason was the eerie certainty with which martaug wrote all this stuff about Clinton and the GWoT. Since when do I need martaug's help to say something bad about Bush? :shake:
     
  5. 123GO Gems: 1/31
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    Important correction

    Incorrect. Who was the first person to announce the global war on terror, on the day of 911, and what country was he from? (Hint, it wasn't America).

    Google it, we are not following an American made policy. This "war" was created by a foreign power that had considerable influence in the Bush administration.
     
  6. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    martaug's back!
    oh no, it's just a resurrection of a 4-year old thread.

    I'm sure you can find all kinds of stuff when you google. But the idea that pulling the USA's strings behind the scenes is ... another country. That's a bit impractical, not to mention risky for the country in question. It's more likely to be powerful people and organizations, but another country?
     
  7. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    Hey Coin, it is kind of flattering that people can still find this stuff after 4 years ay?

    The phrase 'War on Terror' was first used by U.S. President George w. Bush on 20 September 2001.
     
  8. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    Probably. For whatever that's worth. I believe on Sept. 9th 2001, the hot political topic of the day was the massive military spending, causing Dick Cheney (I think) to declare a War on Waste!
    Who was the first to use a corny, overused American political expression on the topic of terrorism? Who cares.;)
    It wasn't a declaration of war in the narrow definition. And even if we acknowledge that the actions taken resulted in wars with Afghanistan and Iraq, I doubt Dubya Junior had the intention in his mind already when he said this tediously unoriginal turn of phrases on Sept. 20th.
     
  9. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    to fight terror you must become terror...
     
  10. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    The first rule of the war on terror is you don't talk about the war on terror . . .
     
  11. Montresor

    Montresor Mostly Harmless Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder

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    [​IMG] And the second rule is that you don't talk about the war-that-must-not-be-named.
     
    jaded empath likes this.
  12. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    and the third rule is .... oh look, pigeon....
     
  13. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    And the fourth rule is: Shoot at the pigeons, because they're enabling the terrorists to distract you!
     
  14. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    War on terror was coined the day after the first wedding....

    "I'm not afraid of terrorist ... I was MARRIED!" - the late great Sam Kinison
     
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