Britain wants to drop the “war on terror” phrase “because this isn’t us against one organised enemy with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives.”
I’m gobsmacked, I tell you, gobsmacked. The “war on terror” is a silly, stupid, inadequate phrase, but for almost exactly the opposite of these reasons. One of its defects is that it doesn’t communicate the fact that we are facing one enemy (with various degrees of organization) with with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives. As I and many others have pointed out on numerous occasions, terrorism is a tactic, not an opponent, and it was not invented by Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001.
And the British also have a bad idea here because we are facing one enemy with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives. Even if one believes that they are twisting and hijacking Islam, they are still at least self-proclaimed Islamic jihadists with the goal of setting up a worldwide caliphate. Even President Bush has spoken about that, on one or two occasions. But evidently now official Britain is retreating so far from reality that we have to pretend that we are facing simply a few gangs of thugs with no coherent ideology or common aims.
And don’t forget: the Democrats want to do this too.
Britain has decided to ban the term ‘War on Terror’ – sparking fears of a major row with the US.
The International Development Secretary will say the phrase has strengthened militant groups by giving them a shared identity.
Hilary Benn’s speech is expected to anger the White House when he criticises President Bush’s phrase.
He will stress the term makes terrorist groups feel that they are part of something “bigger”.
Mr Benn will also urge world leaders to open dialogue with potential enemies rather than use military force.
President Bush championed the phrase ‘War on Terror’ shortly after the al Qaeda attacks on New York on September 11, 2001.
The Foreign Office called for it to be dropped in December last year but Washington stuck to its guns.
Mr Benn will say in his speech: “In the UK, we do not use the phrase ‘War on Terror’ because we can’t win by military means alone, and because this isn’t us against one organised enemy with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives.
“It is the vast majority of the people in the world – of all nationalities and faiths – against a small number of loose, shifting and disparate groups.
“What these groups want is to force their individual and narrow values on others without dialogue, without debate, through violence. And by letting them feel part of something bigger, we give them strength.”
They are part of something bigger, Mr. Benn, whether or not you are willing to acknowledge it. They believe that they are the sons and heirs of mujahedin going back 14 centuries. Do you really think they have just gotten this idea because you started calling them “terrorists”? If so, it is an appalling commentary on the state of affairs in the West that you occupy any position of public influence at all.