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OpenDemocracy: free thinking for the world

In a choice between grief and nothing, people will choose grief.

Jim White, gospel singer

War on Terror

The “War on Terror” is a monstrous sham, a catch-all slogan spun onto the 9/11 attack and now available to justify domestic repression, violence abroad and to suppress debate. It is not a war, and has no achievable goals. It is a blank cheque for violence.

Do you love your country enough to see its faults? Under the ‘War on Terror’ we have illegally invaded Iraq and helped bring about a million deaths. We pretend to be ‘exporting’ a democracy we scarcely practise, when we are simply helping ourselves to the world’s most valuable commodity, oil. Remember, if Britain is a democracy, we are all accountable.

Readers to whom this sounds strange might find some history has escaped their attention. Here’s a sample.

  • The first chemical attacks on Iraqi tribes were made not by the forces of Saddam Hussein but the RAF, in the 1920s, to encourage them to pay tax. Winston Churchill was enthusiastic about the RAF raids, praising their cheapness.
  • The United States spent about $100 billion dollars over a decade on the terrorist insurgency that eventually brought down the democratically elected government of Nicaragua.
  • Who never negotiates with terrorists? The currently admired power-sharing arrangements in Northern Ireland came from doing just that. And how many Israeli prime ministers have been alumni of terrorist organisations such as the Irgun or the Stern Gang?
  • We treat states that support terrorism as terrorists themselves – so we’re going to send a Royal Navy task force into Boston Harbour after IRA supporters? (Just one reason why the US isn’t going to ratify its 2003 extradition treaty with us.)
  • politics
  • security
© 2003-2020 Stephen Taylor
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