The war on terror is a metaphor, not a reality. Let us first look at the word terror. It is defined as a word meaning extreme fear. War is defined as a state of armed conflict between nations or states or different groups within a nation. How can you have a war on fear?
Gore Vidal had it nailed when he described how ridiculous it is to have a war on terror. On October 25, 2006, Gore Vidal said the following: ” You can’t have a war on terrorism because that’s not an actual enemy, it’s an abstract. It’s like having a war on dandruff. That war will be eternal and pointless. It’s idiotic.
That’s not a war that’s a slogan. It’s a lie. It’s advertising, which is the only art form we ever invented in America. And we can use it to sell soap, wars and presidential candidates in the same fashion.”
How true is that? Words have meaning. Those who have committed acts or actions against civilians in various countries are not representing a nation or state. Political terror is the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political ends. Al Qaeda and ISIL are not nations or states, even though the goal of ISIL is to establish an Islamic State. Al Qaeda, in particular has made war on civilians.
How is Al Qaeda different from any group who has committed violent acts or actions? Nihilists and anarchists committed numerous acts of violence back in the early 20th Century but you did not see anyone declare war on them. The IRA, in particular could and did claim to be patriots and not terrorists. One person’s terrorist is another person’s patriot.
Those among us who would seek to have a religious war are overreaching and overreacting to incidents like what happened in Paris. We should never dignify what these killers have done by attributing to them the status of a nation. They are murderers plain and simple. The result of their actions may be extreme fear but in no way should we declare war on terror. What we should do and what is happening is that citizens of civilized society have taken steps to treat them as the barbaric criminals that they are. They seek recognition and we should never dignify their groups with anything other than inflicting upon them the ultimate legal consequences that society has to offer. For those who seek martyrdom let us grant them their wish.
If we stoop to the level of the murderers in Paris and in other locations we lose sight of who we are and the common decencies that we share as a civilized society. The purveyors of war, the sellers of guns and other weapons would love it if we had a war on Islam. They’d sell a whole lot of weapons and make a lot of money on the death and destruction that would follow.
If Madison Avenue can convince consumers to believe that laundry soap that is white in color is better than a soap color that is the same but a different color than they can sell the American people on the idea that all Muslims are bad and that we are having a holy war. The Neo-Cons would have you believe that mainstream Muslims in the world support the criminals that commit murder and mayhem; that premise is far from the truth.If Donald Trump can sell you on the idea that all Muslims are bad and that we must ban Muslims from our country than those who would continue to commit horendous acts against us will have won the war that they seek.
The Muslim faith, Christianity, and the Judaic faithful share a common God and Abraham. Love for mankind is taught and not hate.As Mahatma Ghandhi once said, an eye for an eye just makes the whole world blind. Hate and revenge only satisfy a hunger for a moment but eventually it leaves you empty, devoid of humanity. You can always find people with hate and give them a voice. The violence that extremists depends on harms their cause more than it helps it. Let us not overreact to tragic events and give their cause legitimacy. What we need is for all people of faith and all humanists to deny them the victory that extremists seek. We need to maintain our civilized society and we need to do a better job of dealing with the poverty and lack of hope that Al Qaeda and ISIL feeds on. Peace and Love to all.