Some notes on ‘terror’
in ‘War on terror’
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'Terror' is a diffuse notion that takes no account of local particularities and 'war on terror' is a contradiction in terms. The body of doctrine and law under which terrorism is generally thought to fall is the law of war, which is twofold. Who, then, are the terrorists? The terrorists from whom everyone has most to fear are states. 'Inflicting violence on the innocent for political ends' is something that can be done most effectively with the arsenal of the state. The Israeli connections with ethnic cleansing and terrorism are made clear in its choice of leadership. Who then are the non-state terrorists? In the context of the 'War on Terror', they are the Islamist suicide bombers. There is some danger that the 'human rights culture', that fragile post-World War II achievement, will, in the wake of the 'War on Terror', be entirely discredited as the rhetoric of Western imperialism.

‘War on terror’

The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2006

Editor: Chris Miller


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