Saturday, July 21, 2007

Is Terrorism a Crime or a War?

In Sunday's NYT Magazine David Rieff points with approval to the efforts of new Brit PM Gordon Brown to move away from the rhetoric of the "war on terror" toward a law enforcement approach. Rieff notes that Americans like John Kerry who advocated a law enforcement approach were dismissed as soft on terror, but that a law enforcement approach is actually better at setting limits to both fear and over reaction.

The problem that readers of this blog will recognize is that in America the battle against crime became a "war" years ago. The same sense of lawlessness and limitlessness that has infused the war on terror has long shaped the war on crime. The problem of wrongful convictions (see below) is a marker of precisely this mentality.

So Rieff is right that the war on terror is a disastrous approach, but in America, crime is not an alternative.

5 comments:

desiderio said...

El team del terror esta muy fatigado. Se atribuyo en la historia al papel del Estado politico, esencia ordenadora terrofica, cuyas acciones se convierten en pavorosas contra los civiles:Stalin, Hitler, ejemplos duros. Pero el terrorismo es una guerra, solo que es el Terror erstatal (imperio) y el terror de guerra (los terroristas universales)
Seamos francos la guerra terrista del Estado se encarno en los terroristas de la guerra.
Que temazo, parece un poker de detritus. mi blog: guionistadetakilleitor

jrdub said...

from my understanding of a concept in traditional Islamic law: when Muslims are attacked, then it becomes obligatory for all Muslims to defend against the attack. If a group of Muslims come under attack by non-Muslims, then no formal declaration of war is required and the Muslims are to defend themselves against such attack;

My two cents is that terrorist crimes are components of wars that are being fought on different fronts and have roots in different ideologies.

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