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Language, politics and counter-terrorism
Author: Richard Jackson

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.

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Language and politics
Richard Jackson

, ‘Writing threat and danger’, 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. It explores how the terrorists are made out to be incredibly sophisticated, ruthless and numerous; how they hide in communities – the perennial ‘enemy within’ – where

in Writing the war on terrorism
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Politics, violence and resistance
Richard Jackson

creation of a sense of exceptional grievance and victim-hood; the démonisation and dehumanisation of an enemy ‘other’; the manufacture of a catastrophic threat and danger which demands immediate and forceful action; and the justification and legitimisation of pre-emptive (or preventive) counter-violence. When these messages are repeated endlessly through the media, in university lecture halls and churches

in Writing the war on terrorism
Richard Jackson

and a new ‘war on terrorism’ that went far beyond the previous Clinton administration’s ‘war on terrorism’. Constructing the supreme emergency Another feature of the discourse of threat and danger involves the construction of numerous and seemingly catastrophic threats and dangers. The purpose of this language is to suggest that not only is the

in Writing the war on terrorism
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Towards a ‘tolerable state of order’?
Thomas R. Seitz

address adequately the dangers posed by insurgencies and failed states. Terrorist networks can find sanctuary within the borders of a weak nation and strength within the chaos of social breakdown. A nuclear-armed state could collapse into chaos and criminality. The most likely catastrophic threats to 152 The evolving role of nation-building in US foreign policy the U.S. homeland – for example, that of a U.S. city being poisoned or reduced to rubble from a terrorist attack – are more likely to emanate from failing states than from aggressor states.30 In the final

in The evolving role of nation-building in US foreign policy
Lindsey Earner-Byrne

medical costs, the expense of childbirth and sanatorium treatment for tuberculosis.35 However, the act was ‘not designed for Irish conditions’ as it was a health insurance system based on friendly societies, which hardly existed in Ireland.36 Furthermore, the act was perceived in Ireland as a form of ‘penal taxation’37 and as a ‘sudden and potentially catastrophic threat’38 to the three voluntary maternity hospitals in Dublin city. The Rotunda,39 the Coombe,40 and the National Maternity Hospital41 were powerful players in medical politics and public health policy. The

in Mother and child
Lee Spinks

him and from the dogs as if there is a conversation between them that is subterranean, volcanic. All their tongues hanging out. ( RF , 181) Hovering uncertainly between fantasy and reality (‘Arthur cut the ropes and the animals splashed to the ground, writhing free and escaping’), this image manages to convey both aspects of Mervyn’s psychological and social condition ( RF , 182). On one side he is haunted by the potentially catastrophic threat posed to his self-image as he seems about to be torn apart by powerful and conflicting forces

in Michael Ondaatje
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Reproducing the discourse
Richard Jackson

) In effect, the language employed by these academics reproduces the primary narratives of good versus evil, the hatred of the terrorists, innocent Americans, the universal values that America is protecting, the catastrophic threat and danger posed by terrorism and the necessity for a just war against them. A great many other academics have also reproduced the discourse in their own works, often

in Writing the war on terrorism
Richard Jackson

and virtuous war; it would also be to suggest that we should not follow history’s calling, that civilisation is not worth defending against evil and that we should not respond to the catastrophic threat posed by rogue states and their terrorist allies. In essence, the language, in the way it is deployed by officials, is almost impossible to resist. It forces the listener either to simply accept it as

in Writing the war on terrorism