This book is about the public language of the 'war on terrorism' and the way in which language has been deployed to justify and normalise a global campaign of counter-terrorism. It explains how the war on terrorism has been reproduced and amplified by key social actors and how it has become the dominant political narrative in America today, enjoying widespread bipartisan and popular support. The book also explains why the language of politics is so important and the main methodological approach for analysing the language of counter-terrorism, namely, critical discourse analysis. Then, it provides the comparison drawn between the September 11, 2001 attacks and World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor. One of the most noticeable aspects of the language surrounding the attacks of September 11, 2001 is its constant reference to tragedy, grievance and the exceptional suffering of the American people. The book focuses on the way in which language was deployed to construct the main identities of the protagonists. It demonstrates how terrorism is rhetorically constructed as posing a catastrophic threat to the American 'way of life', to freedom, liberty and democracy and even to civilisation itself. The book analyses how the administration's counter-terrorism campaign has been rhetorically constructed as an essentially 'good' and 'just war', similar to America's role in World War II. Finally, the book concludes that responsible citizens have a moral duty to oppose and resist the official language of counter-terrorism.
1 The “new” terrorism in warfare What role will terrorism play in twenty-first century warfare? While there is evidence that wars are changing, the reasons for and consequences of these changes remain largely unknown. This study represents an effort to better understand changes in the conduct of wars and implications of these changes. In the pages that follow, the first task involves specifying the meanings of terms such as “terrorism” and “insurgency.” The chapter continues with a discussion of changes in the uses of terrorism over time, not only with regard to
3 Terrorism as a leading indicator: insurgents’ use of terrorism at the initial stages of conflict Our initial concern is with terrorist activity carried out during the early stages of an armed conflict. We hope to measure the extent to which this activity is a precursor or leading indicator of a widening insurgency. We begin this effort by discussing the reasons terrorists may fail to produce insurgency. In these cases, the terrorists (or would-be insurgents) used terrorism as an initial tactic in what would equate to the early stages of their insurgent
THE ‘WAR ON TERRORISM’ is the most extensive counter-terrorist campaign in history and the most important conflict since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Its scope and expenditure of resources are so great that in a few years it could soon rival the cold war. In trying to make sense of this new historical era, there is a temptation to focus solely on its most visible
BY THIS STAGE, IT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS that the official language of counter-terrorism implicitly constructs the ‘war on terrorism’ within the ‘virtuous’ or ‘good war’ tradition (see Lawler 2002 ). Locating the American response to the September 11, 2001 attacks in the bounds of the overarching framework of the World War II meta-narrative for
The authors investigate the timing of insurgents’ use of terrorism within the context of wider-scale warfare. Unlike the great wars found in modern history, the dominant form of warfare in recent years has become internal. The main actors are non-state groups seeking to replace an existing political order through violent means. Terrorism, especially indiscriminate attacks on unarmed civilians, has been an important component of these groups’ tactical repertoires. The purpose of this study is to explore variations in the timing of insurgents’ use of terrorism within the context of war. The authors draw on the largely separate literatures on terrorism and warfare as well as complementary sources of data on terrorist events, insurgent groups, and various forms of armed conflict. The product of this analysis is a mapping of the frequencies of terrorist attacks over time and the identification of these attacks as occurring during the beginning, middle, or ending stages of wider-scale warfare. This is followed by in-depth discussions of the insurgent groups whose use of terrorism matches each of these patterns as well as the contexts within which these groups operate. Readers of this book will include students, scholars, policy-makers, members of the military, and the general public.
4 Terrorism as a tactic of wider-scale warfare In this chapter our focus is on insurgent groups that have used terrorism throughout their struggles to replace political regimes or in an effort to secede from a political community. First, though, we need to place this pattern of insurgency in context. Some of the old generalizations about terrorism no longer match contemporary realities. The notion that “terrorism is a weapon of the weak” no longer applies to many twenty-first century insurgencies. In addition, the belief that terrorists are interested in the
5 Terrorism after wars: the weapon of the weakest? We have come across a number of instances in which serious terrorist violence followed rather than preceded insurgencies. Much of the writing on the subject has suggested that terrorism is used during an early attentiongetting stage of an insurgency (see Chapter 3). In this chapter we investigate circumstances in which terrorist violence appears to follow or increase toward the end of an internal war. Unlike wars between states, internal wars are usually depicted as fights to the finish: either the challengers
2 The logic of our approach: data and measurement Our interest is in the study of terrorism as it is used in the context of warfare. Our main concerns lie in understanding the role terrorism has played in warfare and whether the role of terrorism in twenty-first century warfare has changed from previous eras to today and, if it has, in what ways? We investigate terrorism’s role in warfare through an analysis of the timing of terrorist attacks during wider-scale warfare and the outcomes of these wars as regards the groups using terrorism. In the process, we seek
Terrorism has emerged as a major scourge of modern times. Diverse states, from the U.S. and India, to Mali and Sri Lanka, have been victims of terrorist attacks. States employ a variety of strategies in dealing with terrorism – political negotiation, diplomacy, judicial process – and employ a variety of instruments – intelligence agencies, the police or the military – to cope with the situation. Since terrorism has a cross-border domain, states also seek to construct a panoply of international law, as well