Fear-mongering is a favorite distraction technique of Rovian politics. We can expect a heavy dose of it as the election cycle gears up. Nothing new there.
As individuals, we are faced with a simple choice (most often not noticed) between buying into the rhetoric surrounding a given issue, or setting aside the emotional attachment that makes said issue seem so crucial. Then we can look at an issue in a cognitive and rational manner. This can advance the quality of our moments dramatically.
But let's take a look at the whole "War on Terror/Terrorism " thing, and see how completely senseless and futile it is to even discuss the idea of "war on terror " as though it were a) a war, b) a winnable war and c) the condition of the planet if we were to win such a war.
It's worth noting that the two terms, terror and terrorism, seem to be used indiscriminately even though the two ideas are substantially different. A "war on terror " is a war on abject fear, which makes no sense. If we wished to "combat " terror, we would refuse the temptation to succumb to fearfulness, and we'd seek out its opposite, love. Using the term "war " in this context makes no sense. We don't battle fear, we let it go. If we attempt a battle we're already on terror's home turf, not exactly wise.
Terrorism, on the other hand, is a tactic. Webster's says, "the unlawful use or threat of violence esp. against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion. " And war well, we all know what war means.
So question a), can a war on terror be "a war? " I guess it's semantically ok, especially in this country where we've had a "War on Drugs " and a "War on Poverty " but in these cases the use of the term "war " is clearly metaphorical. The government did not intend (to my knowledge) to kill off all the poor people to end poverty. We can have a metaphorical war on terrorism, but not a real one.
Question b), is this a winnable war? Referring again to the war on poverty and war on drugs, such metaphors are used until they're worn out. How do you win a metaphorical war? I'm not sure, but I am sure we have plenty of drugs and poor to this day.
And finally, what would our planet be like if we were to win such a war ? Does this mean we have killed or isolated all Muslims? Do we kill any who succumb to violence in their efforts to stop the march of American Empire? Oh wait, that introduces a new idea. Who are the good guys and the bad guys in this "war on terrorism. "
According to our Webster definition, " the unlawful use or threat of violence esp. against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion. "
What did we do in attacking Iraq? It wasn't sanctioned by any world body, and the whole "coalition " thing is a joke. What are we doing with Iran these days? No threats of violence there.
And here's the more subtle point. It doesn't say the perpetuator of terrorist threats has to be the actual terrorist. In our case, this administration creates "bogeymen " as needed to perpetuate its fear-mongering on we, the people. Yes, Matilda, our government qualifies as a terrorist organization as well as any of the others so named.
Some will argue that I'm just asking for another 9/11 with this kind of talk. Hardly. Indeed, it is the whole notion of stopping killing with more killing that makes such a scenario more likely.
So what would make such attacks less likely? The sublimation of empire building in favor of earth and eco-centered cultural structures. This isn't hippy mumbo jumbo. There's a lot out there on the real brave new world, including a new book called "The Great Turning " by David Korten. Most of us sense impending transformation, and it explores much of why such a dramatic change is needed. Such knowledge and wisdom is not lost on progressives.
But let's just be ultra-pragmatic (I love a good marketing term) for a moment. You slap someone, they slap you back. That's how war and wars on terrorism are perpetuated. But what if you "turn the other cheek " (who said that?) and say, "hey was that necessary? Is there a problem? If so, how do we fix it? " Ah, blissful dialog. Even if it gets heated, it beats killing each other.
Better yet, because we're aware, strong and fair, we grab the hand as it approaches our face. We make it clear that we abhor violence, while making it equally clear we will not be abused. We ask questions, we learn, we teach. We create trust through honesty. At some moment the other wants to be friends, and you find how much misunderstanding initially caused the behavioral problem.