Sometimes we all need reminding of why we hold something to be true, even if we are repeatedly advised that we're wrong.In a brief lunch-break chat with a colleague, we talked about security and the infringement of civil liberties. The claim made by those in government these days is that we all have to sacrifice some of our freedom in order to be safe from the terrorists. I said to my colleague that I never asked for this extra security, and that I'd rather have my liberties. We talked about this and agreed that the so called war on terror is a myth – insofar as it is patently impossible to wage a war against fear, and that the concept of terrorism is flawed because it cannot be defined without also defining the actions of our governments in supposed opposition to terrorism.
I found an article here by Philip Kuchar which manages to crystallise my point. These extracts make for particularly good reading:
"The standard response to these facts [concerning the huge numbers of civilian dead in Iraq and Afghanistan] is that the terrorist differs from the antiterrorist, since only the terrorist intentionally kills civilians. When the antiterrorist kills civilians, this is "collateral damage." Since, however, this unintentional damage is typical of US and NATO military operations, the civilians must be killed as a means to a certain end. To say that the antiterrorist engages in a war knowing that these deaths will occur is to say that the antiterrorist approves of these deaths as a way of achieving this end."
I.E. – civilian deaths are an aim of our governments' actions in Iraq, because our governments realise that civilian deaths bring us closer to the planned victory.
"Many people take a leap of faith in uncritically accepting the Bush administration's obscure notion of "terrorism." Sometimes the war on terrorism is mythologized and said to be against "terror," which is a kind of fear. There is, of course, not even a potential military response to fear; the notion of attacking fear itself with tanks and helicopters is incoherent. Although a cause of fear may be so attacked, the hope of ending terror by any means at all is quite utopian."
There is a failure of logic so great at the heart of the claims made to us about terrorism (never mind its connections with Iraq) that it seems impossible that our governments could be making a mistake. If I accept that, then I must also accept the implication that our governments are pushing this story in the full knowledge that it is fallacious. Therefore, either our governments are so inept that they can't spot the key logical problem at the centre of their argument, or they are intentionally peddling falsehoods to us in order to convince us to support the insupportable.
""Antiterrorism," … is an organized, faith-based campaign of practically indiscriminate violence. By "faith-based" I mean that elite antiterrorists, such as members of the Bush administration, trust that only their opponents are ever evil and that the US deserves and can handle imperial power; meanwhile, the followers of antiterrorism cling to empty slogans. The war on terrorism is a massive exercise in trust with murderous consequences, which means that there is no significant difference between the antiterrorist and the terrorist."
Indeed, we are asked not only to suspend our disbelief and criticism, but also to give up our freedoms. A key claim in this war is the 'let freedom reign' argument which states that we love freedom, the 'terrorists' hate freedom and that is the difference between us. But at the same time, we are told that we must give up our freedom if we are to beat the 'terrorists'.
It seems to me that what we're told is: you must give up freedom to stop the people who want you to give up freedom. Or, if a 'terrorist' is described as someone who wants to steal my freedom from me, and my government steals my freedom from me, does this make my government essentially 'terrorist' in nature?