A "War" on Terror?

February 25, 2007 by susan

Unc. Sam, war on terrorUnc. Sam, war on terror
Quick Hit
by susan
A commondreams.org reader wrote to set me straight about the term, war on terror, (Are Dems Soft on Terror?) and he has a good point.
He writes, "I nevertheless think that the so-called "War on Terror" is a grammatical, philosophical, and physical impossibility -- like the "War on Poverty" and the "War on Drugs." Drug abuse, poverty, and even terror -- as a tactic -- are, of course, real problems, but to frame our attempts to deal with these problems in the context of a "war" against them, is completely wrong."
Well, amen brother.
So amend any reference I made to a "war on terror" and go with my larger point -- that there's a difference between a soft response to terror and a smart response to terror. Right now, alas, we're stuck with an idiotic response to terror.

Posted in


Babs (not verified) | February 25, 2007 - 10:03am

Dems are notoriously bad at framing issues (read anything by George Lakoff to confirm). But in an earlier post this week, Susan spoke of being smart on terror. Which led me to smart on the environment. Smart on healthcare. Smart on (fill in the blank). I really like this, because though it doesn't say so, it suggests that to have a different position is, ummm, dumb. And as we all know, this charming administration is pretty much dumb on terror, dumb on war, dumb on education, on protecting the planet, on healthcare, on taxes, on budgets, on spending, on national debt. Ooh. Sorry. Got on a roll there and couldn't stop. I believe this addresses the CD reader's issue, and puts the Dems in charge of the debate with a hook upon which to hang the issue. "Smarter, stronger, more principled than thee. Deal with it."


Swallow (not verified) | February 25, 2007 - 1:57pm

Just a note tuh tell yuh all,I loves all Three of yuh and keep up the good work.
(gets out calculator 10+4=?)
oh Yeah


Swallow (not verified) | February 25, 2007 - 4:36pm

Dear Ladies

Dirty linen alert , perhaps as a Canadian I really should keep my nose out of other countries Business. However this stink has simply gotten to the point where no one can hold their nose forever.

Now in Canada we have a Government that is just silly and we like to poke fun at them and they a re deserving of the ridicule that we as a people doll out like so many strained carrots. We are one of the largest and richest per Capita countries on the planet ,if not thee richest, and yet we allow the government to squander most of our wealth and for what ? Answer is simple to appease the US.

We as a nation have always been known as a peace loving bunch never really making waves, always willing to help in times of need wherever that might be and no matter what the cost. we send an under funded military to god only knows where to keep people from tearing out their throats and for what ?,cause we just nice folk who don’t like to make waves.

Sure we squabble amongst ourselves ,you know East vs West , East wants to turn the country into French and the west can’t stand French, and the politicians dance . Big deal so in the west we just ignore the French labeling on the packaging.. At least we don’t go to war over it, and it just ends up being a pissing contest. Again no big deal.

Now however something new has come upon the stage, we as a people are being dragged into the most horrendous act of Genocide and Ecocide this planet has ever seen, and again for what ? to appease the U.S .of course . This however is an expenditure that we as a people can not afford , not on moral ,ethical ,or financial grounds. Not to say that peoples lives are to be based on monetary values, but I think you get my point. Our military is now in some of the worst places in the word to be fighting a war that the US started and continues to play for all it’s worth. It is of small comfort to know that we have the best Snipers on the planet whose job it is to protect US troops who are there Killing people who have committed no crime whatsoever against the US , unless it’s a crime to be born sitting on an ocean of Oil that the US needs strike that( wants.)

In short this insanity must end and it must end very soon, it is now up to the American people to stop this madness as the rest of the world cannot seem to do it (yet). I Fear ,Hope , and pray that a revolution is in order , not another election to vote in more fools, buffoons and crime lords. (crime lords?
I suppose there are different kinds, all Al Capone did was give the people what they wanted, Booze.)

As I travel a great deal I am worried about being mistaken for an American these days and that is a sad thing as I only live ½ mile from the US border and I served in the US military and did Three tours in Vietnam . I joined for the same reasons that young American boys join now I believed in the lies. That illusion lasted about Two weeks and yet I stayed for three years, and I still ask myself the question why.
I do however find some comfort in the fact that my Canadian Passport is still honored in most parts of the world. Unlike my US Passport which is nothing more than a ticket to get me shot.

Thanks for letting me vent
As always Yours

I will end this missive with a letter that was written by a most dear friend ,I’m sure she would not mind me adding it hear as I think it is relevant.

Dear America: This is a difficult letter to write, because I'm no longer sure who you are.

Some of you may be having the same trouble. I thought I knew you: We'd become well acquainted over the past 55 years. You were the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck comic books I read in the late 1940s. You were the radio shows -- Jack Benny, Our Miss Brooks. You were the music I sang and danced to: the Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, the Platters, Elvis. You were a ton of fun.

You wrote some of my favorite books. You created Huckleberry Finn, and Hawkeye, and Beth and Jo in Little Women, courageous in their different ways. Later, you were my beloved Thoreau, father of environmentalism, witness to individual conscience; and Walt Whitman, singer of the great Republic; and Emily Dickinson, keeper of the private soul. You were Hammett and Chandler, heroic walkers of mean streets; even later, you were the amazing trio, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner, who traced the dark labyrinths of your hidden heart. You were Sinclair Lewis and Arthur Miller, who, with their own American idealism, went after the sham in you, because they thought you could do better.

You were Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront, you were Humphrey Bogart in Key Largo, you were Lillian Gish in Night of the Hunter. You stood up for freedom, honesty and justice; you protected the innocent. I believed most of that. I think you did, too. It seemed true at the time.

You put God on the money, though, even then. You had a way of thinking that the things of Caesar were the same as the things of God: that gave you self-confidence. You have always wanted to be a city upon a hill, a light to all nations, and for a while you were. Give me your tired, your poor, you sang, and for a while you meant it.

We've always been close, you and us. History, that old entangler, has twisted us together since the early 17th century. Some of us used to be you; some of us want to be you; some of you used to be us. You are not only our neighbors: In many cases -- mine, for instance -- you are also our blood relations, our colleagues, and our personal friends. But although we've had a ringside seat, we've never understood you completely, up here north of the 49th parallel.

We're like Romanized Gauls -- look like Romans, dress like Romans, but aren't Romans -- peering over the wall at the real Romans. What are they doing? Why? What are they doing now? Why is the haruspex eyeballing the sheep's liver? Why is the soothsayer wholesaling the Bewares?

Perhaps that's been my difficulty in writing you this letter: I'm not sure I know what's really going on. Anyway, you have a huge posse of experienced entrail-sifters who do nothing but analyze your every vein and lobe. What can I tell you about yourself that you don't already know?

This might be the reason for my hesitation: embarrassment, brought on by a becoming modesty. But it is more likely to be embarrassment of another sort. When my grandmother -- from a New England background -- was confronted with an unsavory topic, she would change the subject and gaze out the window. And that is my own inclination: Mind your own business.

But I'll take the plunge, because your business is no longer merely your business. To paraphrase Marley's Ghost, who figured it out too late, mankind is your business. And vice versa: When the Jolly Green Giant goes on the rampage, many lesser plants and animals get trampled underfoot. As for us, you're our biggest trading partner: We know perfectly well that if you go down the plug-hole, we're going with you. We have every reason to wish you well.

I won't go into the reasons why I think your recent Iraqi adventures have been -- taking the long view -- an ill-advised tactical error. By the time you read this, Baghdad may or may not look like the craters of the Moon, and many more sheep entrails will have been examined. Let's talk, then, not about what you're doing to other people, but about what you're doing to yourselves.

You're gutting the Constitution. Already your home can be entered without your knowledge or permission, you can be snatched away and incarcerated without cause, your mail can be spied on, your private records searched. Why isn't this a recipe for widespread business theft, political intimidation, and fraud? I know you've been told all this is for your own safety and protection, but think about it for a minute. Anyway, when did you get so scared? You didn't used to be easily frightened.

You're running up a record level of debt. Keep spending at this rate and pretty soon you won't be able to afford any big military adventures. Either that or you'll go the way of the USSR: lots of tanks, but no air conditioning. That will make folks very cross. They'll be even crosser when they can't take a shower because your short-sighted bulldozing of environmental protections has dirtied most of the water and dried up the rest. Then things will get hot and dirty indeed.

You're torching the American economy. How soon before the answer to that will be, not to produce anything yourselves, but to grab stuff other people produce, at gunboat-diplomacy prices? Is the world going to consist of a few megarich King Midases, with the rest being serfs, both inside and outside your country? Will the biggest business sector in the United States be the prison system? Let's hope not.

If you proceed much further down the slippery slope, people around the world will stop admiring the good things about you. They'll decide that your city upon the hill is a slum and your democracy is a sham, and therefore you have no business trying to impose your sullied vision on them. They'll think you've abandoned the rule of law. They'll think you've fouled your own nest.

The British used to have a myth about King Arthur. He wasn't dead, but sleeping in a cave, it was said; in the country's hour of greatest peril, he would return. You, too, have great spirits of the past you may call upon: men and women of courage, of conscience, of prescience. Summon them now, to stand with you, to inspire you, to defend the best in you. You need them.

You're the 21st-century Romans. Your admiring friends used to know you well: land of the brave, home of the free. Now, as you obsess over the omens of war, we wonder if you know yourself, muses Margaret Atwood