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No more War On Terror in the UK

Military.com reports that the UK government will no longer use the term War On Terror [1]. Sir Ken Macdonald (the UK’s chief prosecutor) said that “terrorists” are criminals and need to be responded to in that way. This of course is the only logical and sensible thing to do. Soldiers who are taken prisoner are released when the war ends, if members of al Quaeda are considered to be soldiers then they would have to be treated in the same manner.

The next logical step is to persue criminals who are members of al Quaeda in the same way that other criminals are persued. As far as I am aware there is no country where the majority of murderers are members of al Quaeda. Other suspected murderers have the right to a fair trial and people accused of al Quaeda membership deserve the same.

Another interesting statement is that “The term “Islamic terrorist” will also no longer be used. Officials believe it is unhelpful because it appears to directly link the religion to terrorist atrocities“. Finally they realise that there is a huge number of Muslims who want nothing to do with terrorism and that such people are the best potential source of leads when it comes to tracking down criminals associated with al Quaeda.

Thanks to Bruce Schneier for blogging about this [2]. Bruce’s blog post has some interesting comments, one is “you can’t make “War” on “Terrorism”. “Terrorism” is a tactic, not an enemy. To declare war on Terrorism is about as confused as declaring war on Blitzkrieg” by Carlo Graziani. Carlo also writes “It’s stupid to declare a “war” if you have no idea of when and how the war will end, and no clue about how to bring it to an end. If there is no real prospect for declaring “victory”, the “war” will go on for ever. This is tantamount to saying that insofar as we take the rhetoric of war seriously, we are agreeing to live under what is essentially martial law, in perpetuity. We are stipulating that the sort of emergency measures that a nation might consider taking in time of war — suspension of civil rights for certain suspect groups, suspension of laws limiting government surveillance powers, etc. — may be only a decree or a vote away, forever. There can be no more corrosive climate to liberty than war. If we really allow this idiotic rhetoric to be taken seriously, our polity is doomed.“.

A particularly insightful comment from umacf24 is “How did the early 20th century Anarchists stop? Well, one of the attacks precipitated an unprecedentedly bloody and catastrophic war in which both sides used WMD. Military setbacks caused revolutions in the Russian and German empires which led in turn to most of misery of the rest of that century. Not a happy parallel“.

1 comment to No more War On Terror in the UK

  • man, it would be great to see the US take this same approach. I am sick of hearing “Islamic Jihad,” “Islamic Terrorist,” and most definitely “War on Terrorism.” That post by Schneier is pretty damn good. I don’t typically get caught up in what could be deemed “political posts,” but I liked this one :) Thanks.