Life struggles, liberal modernity, and the defence of logistical societies

This is a book which aims to overturn existing understandings of the origins and futures of the War on Terror for the purposes of International Relations theory. As the book shows, this is not a war in defence of the integrity of human life against an enemy defined simply by a contradictory will for the destruction of human life as commonly supposed by its liberal advocates. It is a war over the political constitution of life in which the limitations of liberal accounts of humanity are being put to the test if not rejected outright.

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The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2006
Editor: Chris Miller

'Terror' is a diffuse notion that takes no account of local particularities and 'war on terror' is a contradiction in terms. This book is based on the lectures that were given on the subject in Oxford in 2006. Amnesty has described 'war on terror' as a war on human rights. It is also a contest of narratives: stories that the protagonists tell about themselves, about their enemies, and about what is happening now. The book considers how the recent actions of the United States have stressed and stretched two areas of international law: the right of self-defence, and the rules of international humanitarian law. State terrorism, with a bit of careful spin, can be reclassified as counter-terrorism, in other words as inherently good in the same way that terrorism is inherently bad. The book engages with the politico-conceptual difficulties of distinguishing between war and terrorism. The interface and tensions between the human rights tradition and the Islamic tradition, particularly Islamic law, is discussed. The intensification of Western repression against Islamic thinkers or activists has at times been coupled with policies that seemed designed to change the religious trajectory of society. The sexualization of torture is only one way in which the 'war on terror' has delineated who is (and who is not) human. Religion, human rights, and trauma narratives are three other mechanisms for rationalizing suffering. The book also discusses the subject of censuring reckless killing of innocent civilians by the issue of fatwas by Muslim teachers.

9780719079740_C06.qxd 6 5/8/09 9:22 AM Page 159 Jeff McMahan War, terrorism and the ‘war on terror’ What terrorism is Most of us agree that terrorism is always, or almost always, wrong, which is hardly surprising, since the word is generally used to express disapproval. If an act of which we approve has features characteristic of terrorism, we will be careful to deny that it is in fact an act of terrorism. For example, those who believe that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were morally justified tend to deny that they were instances of terrorism. So

in ‘War on terror’

9780719079740_C01.qxd 1 5/8/09 9:19 AM Page 28 Ahdaf Soueif The function of narrative in the ‘war on terror’ In his introduction to The Mind of Egypt the philosopher and Egyptologist, Jan Assmann, states that his purpose is not to examine Ancient Egyptian history, but to examine what the Ancient Egyptians said their history was; he would listen to and interpret the stories the Ancient Egyptians told about themselves. He distinguishes between three types of subject for historical research: 1 Traces: archaeological remains that are objectively what they are

in ‘War on terror’
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Some notes on ‘terror’

concede defeat, abandon their own dignity and 9780719079740_A02.qxd 2 5/8/09 9:18 AM Page 2 ‘War on terror’ accept the new status quo. And insofar as human societies have a concern with justice, nor should they. History cannot be reversed but sometimes injustices can be remedied or at least not perpetuated. In principle, none of us wishes to perpetuate a recognized injustice, however difficult we may find it to perceive the injustice of our actions. For the analogy with ritual human sacrifice to be complete, then, we should have to be able to say that the victims of

in ‘War on terror’
Sexual violence and trauma in the ‘war on terror’

9780719079740_C08.qxd 8 5/8/09 9:24 AM Page 227 Joanna Bourke The threshold of the human: sexual violence and trauma in the ‘war on terror’ I Ameen Sa’eed Al-Sheikh was arrested on 7 October 2003 and taken to the nowinfamous Baghdad Correctional Facility (Abu Ghraib). ‘Do you believe in anything?’ an American interrogator asked. ‘I believe in Allah’, Al-Sheikh replied, and the interrogator responded: ‘But I believe in torture and I will torture you’.1 The threshold of humanity has become the torture chamber. As legal philosopher Costas Douzinas says, it

in ‘War on terror’

, swooping upon unsuspecting peoples out of the blue and bringing destruction and death in its wake. In its contemporary form, terrorism is no longer a particular kind of violence that this or that gang or group in this or that country does; rather it is said to be part of a pattern of systematic international violence against which a ‘global war on terror’ now needs to be waged. This idea of a worldwide contagion of terror inspired by evil forces with designs on Western civilization – so commonly spoken of today as something new and unprecedented and uniquely terrifying

in ‘War on terror’
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Reflections on harming the innocent

9780719079740_C04.qxd 4 5/8/09 9:21 AM Page 105 Thomas Pogge Terrorism: reflections on harming the innocent* The countries of the developed West are fighting a war on terror. More accurately: the governments of some of these countries are conducting a war against terrorists. This war effort was stepped up dramatically after the terrorist attack of 11 September 2001, which killed about 3,000 people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The most notable attack until then was the car bomb attack on the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi of 7 August

in ‘War on terror’
Post-9/11 Horror and the Gothic Clash of Civilisations

Twentieth century cinema involving monster conflict featured solitary monsters in combat (Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, for example). The writing of Anne Rice and the RPG Vampire: The Masquerade by White Wolf Games introduced the idea of Gothic communities and civilisations in conflict. It was not until after the terror attacks of 11 September that the idea of a clash of civilisations between supernatural societies fully emerged into the mainstream of popular culture. This essay explores the construction of a clash of civilisations between supernatural communities as a form of using the Gothic as a metaphor for contemporary terrorism in film and television series such as Underworld, Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. Inevitably, it is the lycanthropes that are the disempowered and disenfranchised society and are alternately exploited by and rebel against the dominant vampire civilisation grown decadent and on the verge of collapse. Post-9/11 Gothic posits a world in which vampire society is the new normal, and werewolves represent a hidden danger within. Lycanthropes must be controlled, profiled and/or fought and defeated. Through close readings of the cinematic and televisual texts, I explore the vampire/werewolf clash as metaphor and metonym for the war on terror.

Gothic Studies
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War, sovereignty, and resistance to the biopolitical imperium

being redefined by little short of a transformation in the character of power relations internationally, one which challenged traditional accounts of power across the spectrum of different theoretical approaches to the subject. The World Trade Center attack of 11 September 2001 has been argued to challenge both liberal and Foucauldian accounts alike. With the declaration of the War on Terror by the United States, and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the global order is now widely argued to be fragmenting into a mode of organisation more anachronistic

in The biopolitics of the war on terror