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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.

Richard Jackson

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
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Language and politics
Richard Jackson

cities, while heroic warriors of freedom risk their lives in foreign lands to save innocent and decent folk back home; good battles evil and civilisation itself stands against the dark forces of barbarism. Within the confines of this rhetorically constructed reality, or discourse, the ‘war on terrorism’ appears as a rational and reasonable response; more importantly, to many people it feels like the

in Writing the war on terrorism
Richard Jackson

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
Richard Jackson

comparable with the causes of the ‘war on terrorism’. The simple but disturbing answer was positive: the causes are broadly similar. Through a careful analysis of the official language of counter-terrorism, I discovered that the discursive strategies employed by the American and British administrations to construct the ‘war on terrorism’ were the same as those used by leaders and

in Writing the war on terrorism
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Reproducing the discourse
Richard Jackson

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
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Evil terrorists, good Americans
Richard Jackson

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
Richard Jackson

prosecution of the ‘war on terrorism’. In the language currently employed by officials, terrorism is scripted as being a danger of colossal proportions; it threatens civilisation itself, democracy, freedom and America’s very way of life. Despite this obvious hyperbole, creating such a monstrous threat is actually essential to the practice of the ‘war on terrorism’ because without the overwhelming

in Writing the war on terrorism
Richard Jackson

narratives could have been chosen which would have given the events quite a different ‘reading’. Most importantly, the narrative worked to justify and normalise the military response at the heart of the ‘war on terrorism’. There are four notable features of the language I wish to examine here. First, and unsurprisingly, the attacks are discursively constructed as an exceptional tragedy and a grievous harm. In

in Writing the war on terrorism
Author: Kerry Longhurst

Mobilising the concept of strategic culture, this study develops a framework for understanding developments in German security policy between 1990 and 2003. Germany's contemporary security policies are characterised by a peculiar mix of continuity and change. From abstention in the first Gulf war, to early peacekeeping missions in Bosnia in the early 1990s and a full combat role in Kosovo in 1999, the pace of change in German security policy since the end of the Cold War has been breathtaking. The extent of this change has recently, however, been questioned, as seen most vividly in Berlin's response to ‘9/11’ and its subsequent stalwart opposition to the US-led war on terrorism in Iraq in 2003. Beginning with a consideration of the notion of strategic culture, the study refines and adapts the concept to the case of Germany through a consideration of aspects of the rearmament of West Germany. It then critically evaluates the transformation of the role of the Bundeswehr up to and including the war on terrorism, together with Germany's troubled efforts to enact defence reforms, as well as the complex politics surrounding the policy of conscription. By focusing on both the ‘domestics’ of security policy decision making as well as the changing and often contradictory expectations of Germany's allies, this book provides a comprehensive analysis of the role played by Germany's particular strategic culture in shaping policy choices. It concludes by pointing to the vibrancy of Germany's strategic culture.