Thursday, December 10, 2015

From the Albuquerque Journal: The rhetoric of "war"

From Winthrop Quigley in today's Albuquerque Journal:
The word ‘war’ is a rhetorical minefield
By Winthrop Quigley / Journal Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — “War” might be the most overused and most sloppily used word in American public life, and because it is we end up with sloppy thinking and poor public policies.

Politicians have declared war on drugs, war on poverty, war on cancer. Jimmy Carter called the energy crisis of the late 1970s “the moral equivalent of war.” Pundits and people advocating different causes warn of a war on Christmas, a war on women and a war on men.

George Bush declared a global war on terror, which never made sense, since terror is an emotion. It’s like declaring war on sadness. To declare war on terrorism is no better. Terrorism is a technique of combat. It would be as if the United States declared war on dive bombers after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The war on drugs militarized a public health problem. Millions of young people, mostly black and Latino, lost years of freedom and citizenship rights once they were convicted of nonviolent drug felonies.
Now come calls for a “war on radical Islamic terrorism.” It’s a sloppy concept that threatens to lead to sloppy policies.
Terrorism has been a tactic in use for thousands of years. Many of the grievances destabilizing the Muslim world today are centuries old. How are we to know when the war is over? Or are we to remain on a war footing for as long as our republic exists? How long can a republic exist if it is always at war?
My editing leaves out a LOT of good stuff.
I encourage you to click on the link and read Quigley's piece in full!

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