Monday, October 29, 2007

Captain's Quarters: A Complication of Imprecision

re: "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter -- and the State Department finally has discovered this truth. In a long-overdue act, State has forgiven the "terrorism" of the Hmong and Montagnards who fought so bravely beside us in Southeast Asia, allowing them to enter the country and allowing those already here to become legal residents. Not for the first time, imprecise language in war and government created unintended consequences... [snip]... This springs from the central conceit in the current war we face. We have used "war on terror" as a label because it allows us to avoid the more accurate -- and more provocative -- descriptor of a war against radical Islamist terrorists. Using that phrase clearly identifies our enemies, but we have avoided it to keep those enemies from twisting it into a war on Islam for their own propaganda purposes./ Unfortunately, this declaration of war against a tactic leads to a lot of conclusions, many of them self-defeating... [snip]... / We could avoid all of this by simply talking straight with the world. Radical Islamists declared war on us through several terrorist acts over the last 30 years, culminating in the death of 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Instead of pretending to be the global supercop representing everyone's interests in ending terrorism as a tactic, why don't we just explain that we're at war with radical Islamist terrorists because they started the fight -- and why it's in everyone's interest to join in beating them?"...

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