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Language, politics and counter-terrorism

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.

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

in Writing the war on terrorism
Open Access (free)
Interpreting Violence on Healthcare in the Early Stage of the South Sudanese Civil War

Introduction 1 On 15 December 2013, only two and a half years after the Republic of South Sudan had become an independent state, the long-simmering tensions between President Salva Kiir and his former vice-president, Riek Machar, erupted into armed clashes in the capital, Juba. War soon broke out. This article seeks to document and analyse violence affecting the provision of healthcare by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and its intended beneficiaries in the early stage of the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles

Introduction But of all our contemporary illusions, the most dangerous … is the idea that we live in a time without precedent . Tony Judt, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century ( Judt, 2008 ) If some humanitarian-organisation spokespeople are to be believed, the norms and principles underpinning their action have been under attack since the end of the Cold War, which is endangering both humanitarian teams and the operations they conduct

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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THIS CHAPTER SHIFTS THE focus from foreign policy commentary to War on Terror doctrine. It does so by engaging with the Bush administration’s War of Ideas strategy, which aimed to undermine the cultural drivers of terrorism by winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of Arab-Muslims thought vulnerable to radicalisation. The strategic significance of this

in Conspiracy theory and American foreign policy
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Language and politics

In private I observed that once in every generation, without fail, there is an episode of hysteria about the barbarians. (J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians ) THIS BOOK IS ABOUT the public language of the ‘war on

in Writing the war on terrorism

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

in Writing the war on terrorism
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Politics, violence and resistance

prisoners and the systematic violation and erosion of deeply cherished civic rights. What could induce ordinary citizens to participate – at least tacitly – in such sustained and pervasive violence which has by now killed tens of thousands of other ordinary people in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere? Research undertaken into the causes of internal wars (another kind of political violence) in countries such

in Writing the war on terrorism
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Evil terrorists, good Americans

particular ways in which identity has been discursively constructed through the official language of counter-terrorism. I argue that the process of ‘othering’ so apparent in the discourse of the ‘war on terrorism’ – the discursive creation of an external ‘other’ who reinforces the identity of the ‘self’ – was not inevitable or a natural consequence of the horrific terrorist

in Writing the war on terrorism
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Reproducing the discourse

So FAR I HAVE EXAMINED the primary narratives at the heart of the ‘war on terrorism’ – the way in which language constructs the events of September 11, 2001, and the way it creates identities, threats and the counter-terrorist war. In this sense, I have been examining the constituent parts that taken together make up the whole. In order to take the analysis to the

in Writing the war on terrorism