Terrorism, Terrorism, Terrorism: The Word That Fuels Endless War

Written by on October 29, 2014 in Government, Military with 3 Comments

Jon Queally | Commondreams

"I've been writing about torture, [mass] surveillance, and putting people in prison with no charges and drones and warfare," explained Greenwald, "and every time any of those policies are raised, the government has a one word answer for all of it: terrorism." (Image: Public domain)

“I’ve been writing about torture, [mass] surveillance, and putting people in prison with no charges and drones and warfare,” explained Greenwald, “and every time any of those policies are raised, the government has a one word answer for all of it: terrorism.” (Image: Public domain)

Journalist and columnist Glenn Greenwald appeared on MSNBC’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on Tuesday night to address recent violence that took place in Canada, in which soldiers of that nation’s armed forces were targeted, and reiterated his position that understanding and challenging the way the word “terrorism” is employed in such cases is critically important in the context of the ongoing and so-called “War on Terror” that has kept western armies at war in the Middle East and Central Asia for well over a decade.The consistent problem, argued Greenwald, is that both U.S. and Canadian officials, in addition western media outlets and the public at large, repeatedly characterize “terrorism” as something “only non-government groups can do” and that this “conveniently excludes ourselves and our allies… from the definition. We target with drones and missiles and bombs all the time people who are not deployed: sleeping in their homes, riding in cars with their kids… This kind of warfare is extremely common in terms of how we fight.”

Why it’s important to stress the point, he continued, is because the word “terrorism” has taken on an extremely powerful role in terms of global geopolitics, but also proven essential in shutting down “the rational faculties” of those who use it casually or towards their own ends. “I’ve been writing about torture, [mass] surveillance, and putting people in prison with no charges and drones and warfare,” explained Greenwald, “and every time any of those policies are raised, the government has a one word answer for all of it, which is: terrorism.”

Greenwald described being in Canada for most of last week, subsequent to the attacks that killed one soldier on Monday and a separate attack near Parliament that killed another soldier on Wednesday, and said that the power of the word was palpable. “More than anything that I feel most disturbing about [the word ‘terrorism’],” he said, “is that it prevents us from looking at our own actions. Under President Obama alone, we’ve dropped bombs on seven different, predominantly Muslim, countries. So when we call these other people “terrorists” and make ourselves seem the victim, I think it very much creates this misleading idea that we’re just the victims of violence and not the perpetrators of it. And often the violence that we do is very similar to what we call ‘terrorism.'”

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  1. The author seems to for get that we did not just start bombing Muslim countries because we felt like it or because the god of our radical religion tells us to do it. No, that happened to us and will continue happening unless we do something to stop it. Collateral damage is a horrible thing but what is the choice? So long as terrorists, yes, “terrorists”, those who initiate unspeakable violence on innocent people, continue to hide in the homes of supposedly non-combatants, we have no choice but to go in their and get them. Less collateral damage would occur if we had “boots on the ground” who could shoot at those shooting at them. But our president will only allow aerial bombing that destroys an entire building and all who are in it. No Sir, it is not the word “Terrorism” that is the culprit here, it is ideology driven decisions by Obama and his ilk who are charlatans at best and lying, unprincipled law breakers at worse. I leave “at worst” for the time that they are (hopefully) out of power and the full truth can be told.

  2. I just left a comment and it disappeared. Honest journalists and reporters always allow dissenting views. Are you not honest?

  3. Sorry to jump the gun. I did not realize there was a delay in posting replies.

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