Are Wars of Terror Different from Other Wars?

Topics: United States, September 11 attacks, Al-Qaeda Pages: 7 (2642 words) Published: April 29, 2013
Are wars of terror different from other wars? Do they constitute a new form of warfare? If so, how?

"Osama is not a product of Pakistan or Afghanistan. He is a creation of America. Thanks to America, Osama is in every home. As a military man, I know you can never fight and win against someone who can shoot at you once and then run off and hide while you have to remain eternally on guard. You have to attack the source of your enemy's strength. In America's case, that's not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. That only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever.” 

~ Greg Mortenson~

This paper aims to identify what the war on terror is, whether it should be considered as a traditional war or not, what which are the main reasons why it should or should not be considered as such. It was a complete disbelief and shock when people from around the world saw footages of the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, when two commercial airliners slammed into the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon. This event led to US declaring and waging a ‘war on terror.’ In one very simple word, war is any large scale or violent act which many times resolve in the destruction of one’s territory, nation, and lives. Whereas terrorism, on the other hand, is regarded to as a threat of violence or other harmful acts committed for political or ideological purposes, usually aiming to spread fear among the world population and get global attention in order to achieve their goals. When putting these two different words together we end up with a new terminology ‘war on terror’ which nowadays is referred to actions taken aiming to fight terrorism around the world. However, the so called ‘war on terror’ is not only hard to be defined due to its misleading language, but it is considered to be a different type of war when compared to the traditional meaning of the war. The current ‘war on terror’ is ubiquitous, completely unconventional, non-traditional type of conflict, characterized with not having a clear beginning and ending, a specific battlefield and having an enemy which is not an army; therefore, this paper will argue that the war on terror is not a different war and does not constitute a new way of warfare; rather it has been a misleading road that the United States decided to undertake which without considering whether it was a proper decision or what the consequences might be. An article titled “Defining the War on Terror” the author Guy Raz, cited Bruce Hoffman-historian at Georgetown University-who said that “the war in terror, is a war without boundaries, directed against multiple enemies, not just one adversary”. Having in mind that for the past 2,000 years war has meant something very conventional and traditional, the war on terror simply does not fall within the borders of this definition. Moreover, Hedahl in one of his writings argues that it is simply morally problematic to think of war on terror as a war, since mobilization, increase in Force Protection, etc., are not by themselves acts of war; thus, he argues that it is absurd to realize that nothing of this so-called ‘war’ is actually a war. Furthermore, when talking about terrorist attacks and the war on terror, we also have to consider the terrorist attacks that took place in Britain on July 5th, 2005. Is Britain in a war? Is war on terror that Tony Blair adopted, a real war? Sir Ken Macdonald is cited in an article to have said that, “London is not a battlefield. Those innocents who were murdered on July 5th, were not victims of war, and the men who killed them were not ‘soldiers,’ rather they were deluded, narcissistic, criminals. And we need to be clear about this; on the streets of London there is no such thing as ‘war on terror’”. From this we can see, that the war on terror is not really...
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