This chapter explores the unique and particular ways in which identity has been discursively constructed through the official language of counter-terrorism. It focuses on the strategies used to differentiate, demonise and dehumanise the terrorist 'other'. Establishing the identities of the primary characters, the heroes and villains or the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys', was a key element in constructing the overall narrative of the 'war on terrorism'. In a media-saturated society, establishing the identities of the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys' was essential to making the national story of America's war understandable to the wider public. In direct contrast to the terrorists, Americans are discursively constructed first and foremost as Innocent' victims; even the Pentagon casualties and the soldiers fighting in Afghanistan are remade as 'innocent Americans'. In addition, Americans are discursively reconstructed as 'heroic' and 'united'.
This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume, which is about the connection between the United Nations' (UN) evolving approach to intra-state conflicts and the value system of the international community. This study takes issue with the relatively reductionist explanations of what the UN is and how it relates to peace and security. It explores the interest-norm complexes within which the cases in the Congo, Cyprus, Angola, and Cambodia were handled by the UN. This volume shows how relevant actors' normative preferences were resolved in specific peacekeeping environments where the UN was especially active in addressing intra-state conflicts.