That would be true if it wasn't so very clear that for most American political leaders the war on terror has largely been a direct extension of the political categories and rationalities produced by the war on crime whether evil doing criminals, innocent victims, uncompromisable executive leadership, and emotional law making.
Consider the way the Republican Presidential contenders project themselves as terrorism fighters as summarized by Marco Santora in today's NYTimes.
A central tenet of every leading Republican candidate’s campaign for president is one simple and powerful idea: I alone can best defend the United States from the threat of terrorism.
And in recent weeks, three candidates, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred D. Thompson, have embraced some of the more controversial policies on the treatment of those suspected of supporting terrorism, backing harsh interrogation methods and refusing to rule out the use of waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique, on detainees.
Their public statements came as the debate over whether waterboarding is torture had threatened to derail the nomination of Michael B. Mukasey as attorney general after he refused to call the technique illegal.
Not only do the three candidates refuse to rule out waterboarding and other techniques that have been condemned, but they also believe the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, needs to remain open, and they back the practice of extraordinary rendition, in which terrorism suspects are sent for questioning to other countries, including some accused of torture.
Mr. Giuliani often frames the threat of terrorism in graphically personal terms, telling crowds that Islamic extremists “hate you” and want to come to the United States and “kill you.” In that vein, he has been perhaps the most forceful in suggesting that the president must be able to take extraordinary steps to combat terrorist threats.
In an interview yesterday with Albert R. Hunt on Bloomberg TV, Mr. Giuliani said: “Now, intensive questioning works. If I didn’t use intensive questioning, there would be a lot of Mafia guys running around New York right now and crime would be a lot higher in New York than it is. Intensive questioning has to be used. Torture should not be used. The line between the two is a difficult one.”
As Mr. Romney was preparing for his presidential bid, he visited Guantánamo Bay in the spring of 2006 and said he “came away with no concerns with regards to the fair and appropriate treating of these individuals.” In the May debate, Mr. Romney said he would “double Guantánamo.”
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