Saturday, August 12, 2006

"When Terror Is the Foil"

An insightful commentary by Pierre Tristam on the foiling of a plot to destroy a number of trans-Atlantic jetliners has been published at CommonDreams.

Entitled "When Terror Is the Foil", Tristam's article criticizes the way that this particular alleged plot has been "described, or rather projected in Britain and the United States like a halting reality-show production".

He notes, for instance, that "instead of facing down fear, instead of defying it, instead of putting it in its contemptuous place (fear being terrorism’s rankest instrument), we are made to accommodate it and submit to it every chance the government gets to ram it down our collective throats. We are asked, in other words, to be complicit with terrorism’s ultimate aim, without terrorists having to bother to do so much as light a fuse."

Elsewhere in the piece, Tristam acknowledges that "[t]he British airplane plot may well be real. It may well have involved a dozen planes. It may well have been stopped near the brink."

Nevertheless, he is adamant that "the way it’s being played (here more than in Britain , where Tony Blair’s campaign of fear has had limited effect) discredits its seriousness and further discredits the 'war on terror' ".

"The aim isn’t to protect against terrorism", writes Tristam. "It’s to ensure terrorism’s permanent threat, to invent its magnitude, to cast any skepticism about the strategy as something faintly treasonous, as wishing people harm, as sympathy with terrorism. It makes you wonder: what if a victory over terrorism was ever declared? It’s an impossibility. The Bush administration has cast the danger in such ways as to box itself into a position incapable of declaring such a victory. The administration itself (or its coming clones) would have to disband, having hinged its entire raison d’être on such a war. That there’s never been a war is besides the point. The methods of war are the means to power, and there lies the source of the founding lie, its motive, its consequences: the war on terror is the continuation of Republican politics by other means. End the war, and you end the Republican Party’s viability. God alone couldn’t prop up the party and its religious zealots. It therefore must be a perpetual war."

To read "When Terror Is the Foil" in its entirety,
click here.

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