Gordon Brown says "No War on Terror" - Sky News

Sky News reported earlier today that Gordon Brown no longer wants the UK government to refer to "The War on Terror". This is because it allows all people involved in terrorism to be able to join in and have a sense of "belonging" in the battle against Britain and the US.

Well, there you have it. That's the reason why we are being attacked by terrorists. It is because we are labelling them all incorrectly.

Any ideas what it should be called instead of the war on terror ?


Anonymous said...

How about the War on Islam ? No ?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Er ... No. I am assuming this was a joke ?

Leo said...

"Well, there you have it. That's the reason why we are being attacked by terrorists. It is because we are labelling them all incorrectly."

I think you're being a little cynical there, Nich. Brown is right to point out that the term War On Terror has too many crusader-like connotations, and helps the terrorists by perpetuating a "you're either with us or you're against us" mentality initiated by the neo-cons in America.

If we are seriously going to tackle terrorism and the roots of islamofascist fundamentalism, we need to reach out to the oridinary, level-headed people who populate most of the Middle East. For example in Iran, where we must make it clear that our bone of contention is with the extremist mullahs in Tehran, and not the ordinary Iranian. Especially considering the ordinary Iranian is actually fairly pro-Western and liberal, in comparison to the rest of the Middle East.

Brown's language about "winning the battle for hearts and minds" may sound trite, but he's onto a winning strategy in my personal opinion. We do ourselves no favours by making this seem like a semi-medieval war between East and West.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I guess it is better than in the wake of 9/11 when they used the term "The War Against Terror", which of course had the lovely acronym "TWAT"

Laurence Boyce said...

War on the NHS?

Anonymous said...

Honestly? It should be called the "Zero-Tolerance Policy Towards Terrorism".

Brown really does have a point. Lumping Basque terrorists and Irish terrorists and Afghan terrorists and anti-gay terrorists in with Saudi terrorists as some sort of enemy in a war is a stupid way of thinking about it. Terrorism is a crime, it's a tactic, lots of different criminals use it, and it should be described that way. Each group of terrorists will have to be stopped differently, but all will be stopped by police methods, not by "war".

Tristan said...

This is a good move from Brown.

The language of war is being used to justify actions which have never before been seen in peacetime, if we remove the facade of war then we see what we're up against. Criminals. Murderers. Fanatics. But they are not soldiers, they are not part of a coherent attacking force.

You cannot go to war against an abstract. You can only go to war against a real target.

Jeremy Hargreaves said...

I agree you may be being a bit cynical about this, Nich!

The phrase always reminds me of Borat announcing in front of a barn full of hyped-up Texans at a rodeo, how much he admired "America's War of Terror"...

Anonymous said...

Time to view again, Adam Curtis's, "Power of Nightmares".


Matt C said...

Brown's suggestion is, in my opinion, excellent strategy. Michael Scheuer formerly made a similar suggestion.

The strategic reason to define a specific enemy (e.g. war on Al Qaeda) is that you have some sense of when the war will end (when Al Qaeda is destroyed).

In addition, you exacerbate the already-striking tendency for insurgent organizations to split, fight each other, and do quite a bit of your work for you.