Wednesday, October 17, 2012

“Terrorism:” One of the Most 'Manipulated' Words in Political Discourse

Last month I wrote a piece about the terrorist actions of the U.S. government. Today I found a piece written by Glenn Greenwald discussing the same issue I related in the above blog post.

Greenwald writes in part,

There’s a great paradox in the American political landscape:  the word that is used most frequently to justify everything from invasions and bombings to torture, indefinite detention, and the sprawling Surveillance State — Terrorism — is also the most ill-defined and manipulated word.  It has no fixed meaning, and thus applies to virtually anything the user wishes to demonize, while excluding the user’s own behavior and other acts one seeks to justify.  All of this would be an interesting though largely academic, semantic matter if not for the central political significance with which this term is vested:  both formally (in our law) and informally (in our political debates and rhetoric). […] Of course, “the War on Terror” era has made this manipulation even more blatant and destructive — attacks by Muslims even when aimed at purely military targets (Fort Hood or even armies invading their own countries) are automatically deemed “Terrorism,” while attacks designed by the U.S., Israel and their allies with the clear purpose of terrorizing civilian populations into submission are not (nor is it Terrorism when a non-Muslim American flies his plane into the side of a government building or randomly shoots Pentagon police for political ends). 

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