Saturday, Jul 04th, 2020 - 17:12:57


James Peck: "Ideal Illusions" (2011)

'“Terrorism” is a brilliant propaganda word, a grim corroboration of Montaigne’s warning that “Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.” It blinds even as it appears to illuminate. It energizes leaders, bureaucracies, and the media, and it cows critics. Who, after all, is for terrorists? The very notion is rife with ugliness: innocents murdered, body parts in the marketplace, the burning twin towers. Even more than “Communism,” “terrorism” is a label that simplifies. Panic lurks beneath. The dread is no longer of an insidious penetration but of chaos and pathological acts committed by barbarians. Communism was at least a corruption of the good, a cynical manipulation of Enlightenment ideals. Terrorism is the perversion of humanity itself. The George W. Bush administration fused the aims of democratization, human rights, and regime change with a “War on Terror” to create the most formidable fighting faith since anticommunism. Not since the late 1940s had there been such an emotionally charged enemy to mobilize national security leaders. For more than half a century, such mobilizing efforts had accompanied appeals to “reshape the global order” in a “new era”; Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, and Reagan all made them. So when Bush, once again, said, “History has given us a unique opportunity … to restructure the world toward freedom,”[1] he was drawing on standard national security rhetoric.[2] Yet his administration was to push much further the Clinton administration’s ideas about “total penetration,” involvement in failing states, promotion of regime change (in the color revolutions in Eastern Europe), and humanitarian intervention. Its soaring rhetoric of freedom and transformational diplomacy was a good fit with the war in Afghanistan and the occupation of Iraq: on one side, American “universality” and the “civilized world”; on the other, the barbarity of suicide bombers.

Terrorism became the new paradigm quite abruptly after 9/11. The great simplifier of national security matters is typically the president, and on this score Bush did not disappoint. Terrorists, driven by “an ideology of hatred and fear,”[3] were “demented, fanatics,” “men without conscience,” “parasites,” “cold blooded killers who despise freedom, reject tolerance and kill the innocent.” “Evil but not insane,”[4] they had not yet “taken control of a great power,” but “they share a vision and operate as a network of dozens of violent extremist groups around the world, striking separately and in concert.”[5] The terrorists were “not protesting our policies. They were protesting our existence”[6] in “a clash between civilization and those who would destroy it.”[7] Their strategy “glorifies the deliberate killing of innocents.”[8] Their “radical visions—having little to do with policy and much to do with a blinding will to power—reek of fascism, Nazism, and totalitarianism.”[9] We were no longer dealing with civilized human beings but with “killers who have made the death of Americans the calling of their lives.”[10] Of course, “terrorism” and “terrorists” had long had a place in Washington’s ideological arsenal. Truman lambasted “terrorist” attacks by Communists against the Greek state,[11] Eisenhower warned of the Communists’ “highly organized world campaign of deceit, subversion and terrorism”;[12] Johnson denounced the NLF “terrorism” that targeted “school teachers and school administrations, health officials, village leaders, schools, hospitals, research stations, and medical clinics.”[13] “The evil scourge of terrorism” was one of Reagan’s favorite phrases; he often alluded to “state supported” terrorists who “intentionally kill and maim unarmed civilians, often women and children.…”[14] During the Clinton years nonstate actors, too, became guilty of “terrorism,” though the term remained just one code word competing with others.[15]

Terrorism’s rapid acceptance as a paradigm following 9/11 owed something to another context as well. After the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, several conferences in Tel Aviv and Washington had propagated a definition of terrorism as violence targeted at innocent civilians for political purposes, a definition that quickly spread among influential policy makers. National security professionals in Washington and Tel Aviv well knew that since the beginning of the UN there had been competing views over whether struggles for independence and self-determination and resistance against occupations involved terrorism. Amnesty International had long argued that agreement on how to relate issues of terrorism to such struggles was unlikely to be reached. The Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers on Terrorism added in 2002 that any legitimate struggles (“resistance to foreign aggression and the struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation for national liberation and self-determination”) had to be differentiated from acts of terrorism—thus rejecting “any attempt to link terrorism to the struggle of the Palestinian people.”[16] This Gordian knot was cut by simply ignoring the complexity and endless legalistic debates. “Beyond all nuance and quibble,” the administration’s new definition made terrorism “a moral evil, infecting not only those who commit such crimes, but those who, out of malice, ignorance, or simple refusal to think, countenance them.”[17] This might not be a legal definition or one that appears in the OED—but it was a compelling moral position and excellent propaganda.


'In this hard-hitting special report, award-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger investigates the effects of sanctions on the people of Iraq and finds that ten years of extraordinary isolation, imposed by the UN and enforced by the US and Britain, have killed more people than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan. The UN Security Council imposed the sanctions and demanded the destruction of Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons under the supervision of a UN Special Commission (UNSCOM).'
+ John Pilger - Paying the Price - Killing the Children of Iraq (2000):
+ The Secret Government: Bill Moyers (1987):

Historically human rights groups have always focused on protecting innocents—noncombatants, abused women, suffering children. They have marketed their message, raised funds, and galvanized constituencies on this basis. They have produced graphic accounts of the wounded and the dead, rife with images of body parts and limbs torn asunder. These groups also speak of the complex interrelationship of economic, social, legal, democratic, cultural, and civil rights; they espouse such concepts as the laws of war, the rights of noncombatants, the responsibility to protect. But underlying it all has been the sanctity of the innocent victim, and nothing could be a more flagrant assault on this notion than terrorism. Deliberately killing and maiming civilians “is terrorism pure and simple,” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan declared in 2005, in a phrase widely quoted by human rights leaders.[18] No complex legal analysis is required to reach this conclusion. It’s what human rights is all about.

Terrorism is anti–human rights—its veritable opposite, emotionally, legally, and morally. Terrorism is an attack on innocent civilians: the obvious nature of this equation is exactly what makes it such an evocative instrument of propaganda warfare, a perfect instance of the way specific truths can obfuscate more complex understanding. Over the decades, the focus of human rights had evolved—from prisoners of conscience to the rights of noncombatants to democratization to humanitarian intervention. But nothing quite so emphatically reinforced the individual-centered vision of the first current as the fight against terrorism. As a result, human rights groups found themselves in alignment with Washington, coming together in a shared language. But by making the targeting of civilians the core of their own definition of terrorism, they unwittingly added ammunition to Bush’s War on Terror. The protection of innocent civilians that had been their mobilizing call was subtly turned against them. Washington adeptly packaged itself as the very antipode of those who targeted civilians, especially women and children. Terrorism is not a particular regime, or rogue state, or religion, Bush said; it is the “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against innocents.”[19] Or as the National Strategy for Combating Terrorists put it, terrorism is “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.”[20] Bush propagated this new paradigm relentlessly. Targeting innocent civilians is wrong, always and everywhere. American human rights groups used the same terminology. There was little disagreement among them that “attacks on civilians” aimed at the “heart of the entire structure of international human rights and humanitarian law” and drove “the current massive efforts to deter and destroy terrorist capabilities.”[21] No cause, no rationale, no act justified doing harm to innocents.


“Whatever you believe about anything else,” declared Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, “the bottom line should be you never deliberately kill civilians,” for it is “the fundamental principle of human rights and humanitarian law.”[22]
+ "Kill Them All": - This BBC Documentary reveals atrocities committed by the U.S. in Korea during the war:
+ No Gun Ri Massacre:

This morally impassioned assertion was strengthening in its purity. Humanitarianism as a fighting faith had been partly fueled by our uneasiness over the responsibility we bore for a world of unceasing atrocities. Terrorism effectively erased this feeling. The terrorist label brought back full force the conviction that whatever else could be laid at our door; at least we didn’t act like them. The great human rights battles of the Bush years—torture, renditions, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib—were largely over the horror of our becoming “like them.” After a half century in which “Communist” had put a stop to critical thinking more effectively than any other word in the American lexicon, some reflection about the consequences of embracing the term “terrorist” might have been in order. But there was little. “Terrorism today poses a serious threat,” Human Rights Watch asserted. When the organization warned that violations of human rights were undermining Washington’s credibility as the “leader of the campaign against terrorism,” it was straightforwardly adopting Washington’s language.[23] The “War on Terror” had to be fought with respect for human rights, it insisted, not in violation of them. American abuses provided rallying cries “for terrorist recruiters”; the pictures from Abu Ghraib were “recruiting posters for ‘Terrorism, Inc.’” The fight would be won only by extending human rights and thus destroying the “breeding grounds of terrorists.”[24]

There were some trenchant criticisms of the concept of a war on terror from these groups. Was it really even a war? The administration “stretches the meaning of the word ‘war’” to give itself “extraordinary powers enjoyed by a wartime government,” thus breaking down the distinction between what is permissible in times of peace and of war.[25] The “real test of success is whether the administration’s approach to terrorism is neutralizing more terrorists than it breeds. Here the available signs are negative.”[26] But in the end, the goal was noble even if the tactics were not. For Washington, defining terrorism as the targeting of innocent civilians was a strategic boon. Just as national security managers had embraced the rights of noncombatants as a way to challenge insurgency movements after Vietnam, following 9/11 they seized on the “innocent” to promote certain interests over others, drawing on several handy ideological implications embedded in this definition. A Manichean vision of the world reemerged with a virulence not seen since the height of the Cold War. “We are in a conflict between good and evil,” [27] Bush declared, “and America will call evil by its name.” This battle required that a clear distinction be drawn between the targeting of civilians and all other acts in which civilians might be harmed. The former was “intrinsically evil, necessarily evil and wholly evil,”[28] no matter what the objectives or circumstances. To suggest that this view might oversimplify a complicated issue was no more than “false sophistication”—the mark of a broken-down conscience unable to distinguish between good and evil.[29]

From this Manichean vision follows the view that terrorism is the antithesis of the rule of law and of the entire civilized effort to protect the rights of noncombatants and the innocent. The terrorist respects no code of law established for war or peacetime.[30] Violating the prohibition against targeting civilians means “you are left without any norms at all,” thus placing all the achievements of the Hague and Geneva Conferences and the entire edifice of the laws of war “in danger of being swept aside.”[31] Note that the issue is the line between lawful and illegal violence—not peace, but the regulation of war. The “very raison d’être of al Qaeda is to violate the laws of war by targeting innocent civilians,” asserted a former U.S. attorney general.[32] As a result, for Washington and U.S. human rights leaders defeating terrorism and promoting the laws of war were indistinguishable aims. A related and equally useful ideological implication is proportionality, a concept that prohibits attacks when the harm to civilians is expected to outweigh the anticipated advantages.[33] Military operations are to be directed only at military targets and combatants; they may not intentionally strike at civilians or civilian objects. Thus there is no moral equivalence between, say, a stray missile’s killing civilians in a town held by insurgents and a terrorist group’s suicide bombings of civilians. One is legal, the other criminal; one is morally acceptable, the other is not. The individuals who attacked the World Trade Center meant to kill civilians, whereas Washington’s aim is to kill only “combatants” and minimize injuries to civilians, whose deaths are “unintentional,” “accidental.” Innocent civilians may indeed be killed, but they are not specifically being targeted. No debate over means or estimates of expected civilian deaths equates morally with deliberately attacking the innocent. Rarely does one find any notion so pure and simple in war—or in life. But terrorism fits the description: it is radical evil.

Human rights groups, too, often discuss the laws of war in terms of proportionality. Was the collateral damage justified? Were too many civilians killed? Was insufficient care taken? Was a hospital targeted, or a radio station, or an electrical generator? Legal parsing inevitably follows. Didn’t clause X preclude attacks on Y targets under Z conditions? Terrorists pose no such complexities. The law regarding them is refreshingly simple.[34] They are the other. “Targeting civilians” has still another useful ideological application: deromanticizing insurgencies and almost all violent acts of resistance. The label “depraved” can be applied to all those who use these methods, and they can no longer be regarded as heroic.[35] However contentious the arguments over the definition of “freedom fighters” in earlier eras, most members of the national security establishment now agreed that the contemporary terrorist’s central focus on targeting civilians was qualitatively different—particularly when it came to the Middle East and the Palestinians after the establishment of the PLO. Earlier freedom fighters, argues one Israeli authority, were bound by certain ethical rules. They “drew a sharp distinction between soldiers and small children, between repressive authorities and helpless women, between governmental agents and ordinary citizens, between a military outpost and a common dwelling place.” The contemporary terrorist, by contrast, knows no such distinctions.[36] Suicide bombing accepts few if any moral limits on the choice of targets. To the charge that this definition of terrorism applied equally to the Nicaraguan Contras, Senator Henry Jackson retorted that neither the intent nor the logic of their policy was the same, whatever its costs to civilians. Did one not see the moral difference?[37]


'The Oil Factor, alternatively known as Behind the War on Terror, is an approximately 90 minute 2004 movie written and directed by Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy, narrated by Ed Asner. The documentary analyzes the development of some global events since the beginning of the century (especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks) from the perspective of oil and oil-abundant regions. The documentary aspires to bring an untraditional point of view over the reasons, aspects and motives of this war and the direction of current US foreign policy... In the last part of Oil Factor, the filmmakers go in for coalition (and especially US) soldiers, negatively acknowledge media campaigns to aid to recruit another young American men to join US Army and object that clandestine agents are best known and verified way to fight terrorism, instead of huge conventional waging of war. Karen Kwiatkowski concludes: "If you draw a map that connects the dots between all of the bases that we have done since the Cold War ended, what You see is American military hegemony - covering 90 per cent of global energy resources."'
+ The Oil Factor Behind the War on Terror (2004):
+ Behind the War on Terror (2004):

Another ideological tool that the “terrorist” label offers derives from the argument that there are simply no grievances that justify the murder of innocent people, nor should grievances ever be invoked to mitigate the evil of terrorist acts. Human rights leaders fully concurred, even in cases where the grievances were real and urgent. For Washington, ideological warfare involved undermining the image of terrorists in their own communities; terrorism had to “be isolated from the context which breeds it” before the grievances that gave rise to it could be adequately addressed.[38] American human rights leaders focused more on the moral context of terrorism—the inhumanity, the total corruption of means and ends. While it was “beyond Human Rights Watch’s scope to work to address political grievances or the conditions that lead to pathologies that lead groups to attack thousands of civilians,” a “terrorist pathology” was what the organization saw at work: “Sympathy for such crimes is the breeding ground for terrorism, and sympathizers are the potential recruits.”[39] In the end only the mores of human rights offered an alternative. “Let’s face it, we’re never going to persuade Osama bin Laden to give up and pursue peaceful political change,” warned Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch, “which means, in the long run, that the war against terrorism is going to be won or lost on the issue of recruitment.”[40] Terrorism “will succumb only where peaceful political change is a realistic option.”[41] Building a culture in which any disregard for civilian life would be condemned rather than condoned was essential for defeating terrorism;41 that was why the “fight against terrorism must be understood as a campaign for human rights.”[42]

Echoing its earlier Cold War position, Human Rights Watch argued that Washington needed a “positive vision.” It was not enough to be against terrorism; the administration “will have to be in favor of the values that explain what is wrong with attacking civilians—the values of human rights.” The United States needed to “look at those closed countries and begin to press for the creation of pluralism, or real political opportunities there,” since, after all, repression “fuels terrorism by closing off avenues of peaceful dissent.”[43] Washington was more than willing to oblige. “Ignoring human development is not an option. It is imperative that we encourage and nurture democratization,” Bush’s coordinator for counterterrorism declared. The “destructive task” of “eradicating enemy networks” had to be balanced by the “constructive task” of “building legitimacy, good governance, trust, prosperity, tolerance, and the rule of law”—wording almost identical to that of various Human Rights Watch reports.[44] Calls for democratization were reinforced in the War on Terror, for terrorism was “the crassest antithesis of democratic values.”[45] Where democracies honored the unique value of each individual, terrorism rejected the concept of personal worth.[46] That was why attacking individuals was attacking the core value of human rights, and why the “moral narrative” of our time must be about standing against terrorism. Even more than humanitarianism, terrorism brought into sharp focus the individual centered outlook that lies at the heart of human rights advocacy.

“It has generally been acknowledged to be madness to go to war for an idea, but if anything is more unsatisfactory, it is to go to war against a nightmare,” Lord Salisbury stated in 1877. Washington had its own idea about what it was going to war for, and human rights leaders found themselves perilously close to propagating the nightmare that was being used to rationalize the War on Terror. Their most cherished concern—protecting the innocent—was being ideologically packaged in a way that was difficult to challenge. The notion of a “terrorist pathology” offered both Washington and human rights leaders a potent brew of the diseased, the barbaric, the uncivilized, the not like us—those, in short, at war with human rights. But as James Baldwin once warned, “it is a terrible, an inexorable law that one cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one’s own.”[47] Yet, whatever the propaganda issues, who in the end is not outraged by the supreme injustice of killing innocents? What does it matter if Washington or any other power manipulates aspects of such an obvious crime to its own ends? It’s still a crime. Examples like the following are simply too awful to justify in any way: “it was an outrage, an obscenity. The severed hand on the metal door, the swamp of blood and mud across the road, the human brains inside a garage, the incinerated, skeletal remains of an Iraqi mother and her three small children in their still-smoldering car … by my estimate, more than 20 Iraqi civilians.” As it happens, however, that is a description of the collateral damage caused by two missiles from an American jet—an unfortunate lapse from President Bush’s promise to “protect innocent lives in every possible way.”[48] It is an example of the proportionality that makes “us” different from “them” because our intention was not to kill these civilians, even if, as a Palestinian journalist has remarked, this is “deliberate killing—killing deliberately by mistake.”[49] The killing is premeditated “in the literal sense that it is clearly foreseen and contemplated beforehand, with the repeated claim that those killed are the very minimum to be expected … commensurate with protecting our troops and achieving our military objectives.”[50] This is the law; this is morality; this is the fine distinction that makes us different from them. Or as one scholar has translated the concept into the legalese of our time, “incidental civilian casualities from proportionate military operations are a tolerated cost of war, but deliberately killing noncombatants—even in reprisal—is unlawful.”[51]

If the public responded as emotionally to high-altitude bombings or attacks by unmanned drones as it does to suicide bombings, human rights advocates would be putting forth their arguments in a different emotional and perhaps even moral context. In the wake of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, antiwar activists raised the question of why deliberately killing unresisting women and children one by one generated more public revulsion than the numerically far more lethal use of bombing, napalm, strafing, and chemical defoliants from what was often an invisible distance. Individualizing (rather than generalizing) acts of terror may render them truly horrifying and personally mobilizing, but whether it captures the deeper truth is harder to say. Propagandistically, of course, simplicity is essential to the operations of power and was absolutely central to Bush’s War on Terror. But it is this very simplicity that has often made American human rights organizations both victims of and unwilling accomplices to the ideological onslaught of their fiercely determined government. The blurring of human rights rhetoric with Washington’s strategic communications policies undermined any effective human rights response. It was insufficient to criticize the Bush administration for failing to address the pathology of terrorism without bringing an equally sharp focus to the pathology of power. It was too easy to write off the other as hostile to rights while assuming that those in power could simply embrace human rights—if they only chose to. In the end, American human rights leaders espoused a variant of Washington’s war of ideas—the notion of terrorism as a system of beliefs, attitudes, and feelings that allowed us to lump all “extremist” acts together—even as they mobilized people against the “War” on Terror.


Full length documentary by John Pilger exposing the truth and lies about the War on Terror.
+ Breaking The Silence - Truth And Lies In The War On Terror - John Pilger:
+ Peace Propaganda And The Promised Land: U.S. Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2004):

The use of the term “terrorism” is not uncontested in the human rights world. Amnesty International has explained that it steers clear of the word—it is “simply not an acceptable term of use given that there is no internationally agreed definition of what the term means”; it “has not been subject to the rigors of jurisprudence nor is there a broadly accepted definition under which we may systematically evaluate governments’ application of the terms and the actions they seek to justify under protection of its rubric.” The issue is “not merely semantic.” The problem is that the label tends to be applied only to individuals and nonstate groups, while the fight against “terrorism” has been used by states to “cloak actions that would otherwise be exposed as illegitimate.”[52] When, the organization demands, “was it ever agreed that the state cannot be said to have committed acts of terrorism?”[53] Those who argue that terrorism includes state terrorism have consistency and the weight of evidence on their side.[54] According to Edward Peck, deputy director of Reagan’s White House Task Force on Terrorism:

In 1985, they asked us … to come up with a definition of terrorism that could be used throughout the government. We produced about six, and in each and every case, they were rejected, because careful reading would indicate that our own country had been involved in some of those activities.… One of the terms, “international terrorism,” means “activities that,” I quote, “appear to be intended to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.” […] Yes, well, certainly, you can think of a number of countries that have been involved in such activities. Ours is one of them. Israel is another.[55] But no leading human rights organization has ever charged Washington with state terrorism. Amnesty’s refusal to enter this minefield by avoiding the word altogether is a pragmatic response to the inability of human rights organizations to cope with issues of state terrorism by Western powers but a principled stance as well: for one must apply it to both sides or to neither.[56] Amnesty chooses neither. Human Rights Watch continues to choose one, arguing that the U.S. government’s “single overriding goal since September 11 has been to defeat terrorism.” Yet to speak thus is to acquiesce to Washington’s loaded definitions.[57] Washington deftly defines “terrorism” so as never to include its own actions; U.S. state terrorism is, by its definition, an oxymoron.

Media organizations have faced the same set of problems. The BBC’s guidelines for its reporters state that their “credibility is undermined by the careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgments” and, further, that there is “no agreed or universal consensus on what constitutes a terrorist or a terrorist attack.” The word “terrorist” itself can be “a barrier rather than an aid to understanding,” since it is “a difficult and emotive subject with significant overtones” that is “regarded through a political prism.” Loaded words “can imply judgments where there is no clear consensus about the legitimacy of military political groups.” “Terrorist,” in brief, implies an assessment of “the merits of the different perpetrators’ causes, the acts of the different Governments against the perpetrators, or even the value of civilian lives further from home. We must be careful not to give the impression that we have come to some kind of implicit—and unwarranted—value judgment.”[58] Other words “can be used with precision to convey the awful consequences without needing to resort to labels,” the BBC guidelines continue. Thus “‘bomb attack’ conveys more information more quickly than ‘terrorist attack;’ similarly ‘suicide bomber,’ ‘bomber,’ ‘assassin,’ ‘gun man’ help fill in the picture.” As an example, the BBC offers its Northern Ireland correspondent report in the wake of the Omaha bombing in 1998: There should have been a carnival here, instead there was carnage. Saturday afternoon shoppers here because it was safe, crowded together away from a bomb scare. Instead the bomb was in their midst. It killed three generations of one family … a 65 year old grandmother, her pregnant 30 year old daughter and her 18 month old daughter. A litany of the dead,… of the slaughtered innocents. “It is worth asking yourself,” concludes the BBC, “what the use of the word ‘terrorist’ would have added to that simple but powerful statement of what had happened.”[59] Reuters agrees. “As part of a policy to avoid the use of emotive words,” the global news service has explained, “we do not use terms like ‘terrorist’ and ‘freedom fighter’ unless they are in a direct quote or are otherwise attributable to a third party. We do not characterize the subjects of news stories but instead report their actions, identity and background so that readers can make their own decisions based on the facts.”[60]


'War Made Easy reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose a 50-year pattern of government deception & media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. This film exhumes remarkable archival footage of official distortion & exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, revealing in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive presidential administrations. War Made Easy gives special attention to parallels between the Vietnam war and the war in Iraq. Guided by media critic Norman Solomon’s meticulous research and tough-minded analysis, the film presents disturbing examples of propaganda and media complicity from the present alongside rare footage of political leaders and leading journalists from the past, including Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, dissident Senator Wayne Morse and news correspondents Walter Cronkite and Morley Safer.'
+ War Made Easy - How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us To Death (2007):
+ Remarks by President Bush to the UNITY: Journalists of Color Convention (2004):

“We actually misnamed the War on Terror,” President Bush told an audience of journalists. “It ought to be the struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies who happen to use terror as a weapon to try to shake the conscience of the free world.”[61] The joke drew laughter. But why should terror shake the conscience of the Free World? There’s the rub. For beneath the ugliness of terrorism smolders ugliness of another kind: the harshness of the political and economic structures that Washington is well aware sustain and “breed” it. The issue for national security managers is more complex than terrorism; it is “extremism” of all kinds, often rooted in what they term legitimate grievances. Its causes are not simply fanaticism and the pathology of the fanatical mind but rather despair, opportunism, radicalism, the revenge of the weak against the plundering wealthy. Internal national security assessments employ a language far franker than the one the American media uses—a language that often acknowledges oppression, radicalism, resistance, the downtrodden, inequalities, opposition to U.S. military presence, and so on. To effectively wage propaganda warfare requires an understanding of resistance groups, exploitation, the appeal of martyrdom, the weakness of moderate forces.

“Terrorism” is good propaganda but a weak analytical tool. Administration leaders occasionally considered moving beyond the term, as when Donald Rumsfeld and other Defense Department officials spoke of a “war on radical extremism.”[62] Bush himself resisted the shift but not the policy focus on “extremism of all kinds.” Within the national security establishment, distinctions were drawn among those considered extremists of one sort or another, but for public consumption “terrorists” provided an accordion label—and human rights advocates often picked it up. Revolution became “insurrectionary terrorism”; attempts to overthrow colonial regimes, “liberation terrorism”; the focus on a single cause, “loner” or “issue terrorism”; efforts of a religious or ethnic group to gain independence for a subordinate part of a state, “separatist terrorism”; efforts aimed at driving out an occupying force, “occupation terrorism”; efforts aimed at humiliating a global power, “global terrorism.”[63] Presidential statements usually employ a sanitized vocabulary that explains unrest in terms of “underlying conditions”— poverty, corruption, religious conflict, and ethnic strife all create “opportunities” for terrorism.[64] National security analyses are much more candid. “New classes of haves and have nots” confront each other across a desperate chasm of wealth and power. For the first time in human history, “a majority of the world’s population will live in cities,” where the have-nots are already seeking “distributive justice, equality, and social harmony.” The era of rural-based guerrilla warfare may be coming to an end, but huge cities portend acute problems of governance, highly disparate incomes, fierce ethnic and religious conflicts aggravated by periods of economic crisis. Change will no longer be linear but “logarithmic,” building up, slowing down, and then bursting forth unexpectedly—much like terrorism.[65]

For the national security managers, the fight against terrorism justified intervention in other nations as no other ethos had since the fiercest days of anticommunism. The kind of preemptive strikes undertaken covertly throughout the Cold War now could be made openly. Deterrence was useless against terrorists—“When they’re willing to commit suicide to further their agenda, what do they value that we can place at risk?”[66] asked the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The challenge was acute: “a weak power can overcome a strong nation’s designs.”[67] Throw in weapons of mass destruction and “you have a case where relatively weak actors may have access to lethal power that rivals what the strongest nations have.”[68] Washington’s response to this “new era” was to call for an ad hoc “coalition of the willing” on various issues.[69] The War on Terror required a “grand global realignment,” with the United States leading a world in which the “great powers see themselves as falling on the same side of a profound divide between the forces of chaos and order.”[70] National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice declared that the War on Terror opened the way to a more “fluid and complicated set of alignments than anything we have seen since the formation of the Atlantic alliance in 1949.”[71] In this new era, the United States was “unique” in its capacity to “build partnerships,” to “lead the fight,” to “adapt old alliances” while “bringing in new partners,” and “aiding failing states.”[72] For the first time since the seventeenth century the great powers could compete in peace instead of continually preparing for war—as long as they accepted the premise of U.S. centrality. While “frankly speaking of dissuading any potential adversary from challenging American military power” might seem “impolitic,” Rice said, “surely such clarity is a virtue here.”[73]

Terrorism was thus inextricably intertwined with U.S. primacy—indeed, for some Washington analysts one explained the other. To be the world’s center, they noted, was almost inevitably to be the focal point for widespread unease and popular resistance and thus to become the target of angry “extremists” of all sorts. Numerous populations were “excluded from the benefits” of the global economy; a billion people were malnourished; local autocrats rigged politics to their own ends; the “daily lot may be hunger, disease, displacement.” As the young grew “increasingly dissatisfied,” many had come to believe that “radical solutions are the last remaining choice.” Large areas of the world were becoming “hard to govern lawless zones”—veritable “no-man’s-lands” where “extremist movements find breathing space to grow and soft havens are created.”[74] Compounding the problem, “terrorists” were using the media and the Internet in highly effective ways: the pain and injustice of the “oppressed” were becoming more and more visible on television and the web all over the world. At one time attacks on Palestinians had been widely but not pervasively reported. Now, as one former CIA official noted, Israeli actions were being replayed on television every hour.[75] Washington knew very well that the “enemy” could not be reduced to either the pathological individuals nor the cultist groups that were convenient for public diplomacy. As the political scientist Robert Pape argues in his controversial study Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism , most “suicide terrorists” are local “patriots” responding to collective injustice—above all the humiliation of foreign occupation, particularly one in which the occupier appeared to be imposing an alien religion or value system.[76] Much intelligence work concurs. As Zbigniew Brzezinski pointed out, “missing from much of the public debate is discussion of the simple fact that lurking behind every terrorist act is a specific political antecedent.”[77] But those antecedents were best left to debates among the professionals. Human rights groups are well aware, of course, of the fury U.S. policies elicit in many parts of the world. But along with their mantra of taking no stand on war or the occupation in Iraq or military operations in Afghanistan or the territorial issues in the Palestine–Israel question, they have a tendency to suggest that a more open political process would diminish the violence —“Terrorism will succumb only where peaceful political change is a realistic option,”[78] and so on. Meanwhile, the CIA and other national security groups are quite capable of recognizing the legitimate grievances and the grounds for bitterness and “hatred” in various societies. Accounts of Hezbollah recognize its appeal to the “poor and downtrodden” (it is “the first party to oppose deprivation,” “the champion of the peasants and the farmers, the laborers and the poor, the oppressed and the deprived, the workers and the homeless”)[79] without questioning policies directed either against it or against other groups born out of “legitimate grievances.” The national security establishment seeks to understand those grievances with some accuracy— so as to enable Washington to ride roughshod over them if necessary.


'This film recounts the history and attitudes of the opposing sides of the Vietnam War using archival news footage as well as its own film and interviews. A key theme is how attitudes of American racism and self-righteous militarism helped create and prolong this bloody conflict. The film also endeavors to give voice to the Vietnamese people themselves as to how the war has affected them and their reasons why they fight the United States and other western powers while showing the basic humanity of the people that US propaganda tried to dismiss.'
+ Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World (1995):

American human rights reports on the Middle East follow the same pattern as human rights reports about every other area of the globe: praise for Washington’s principles followed by criticism of its operational polices. To cite one example, in 2006 Human Rights Watch lauded President Bush for engaging Arab countries “on a range of human rights issues, something no past U.S. administration has done,”[80] for deploring “sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom” in the Arab world, and for calling on the United States to commit itself to a new “forward strategy of freedom.”[81] Washington’s pressure had “helped create more space for some dissidents and genuinely independent political and civic organization.”[82] The report then chastised Washington for inconsistency; as usual, Washington had failed to carry through on hopeful possibilities. Having spoken of democracy, it had still supported countless autocrats in places like Saudi Arabia, “a veritable wasteland when it comes to respect for fundamental human rights.”[83] As the war in Iraq raged on, U.S. human rights reporting became more forceful: the “promotion of democracy” had become tarnished by its association with “regime change through military force.” The disconnect between Washington’s rhetoric and its policies was stirring up deep suspicions of democracy promotion, weakening reformers and democracy advocates everywhere —“Hollow oratory only corrodes perceptions of U.S. credibility in pursuit of its principles.”[84] And yet as often as not human rights reports on the Middle East read remarkably like Washington’s own strategic communications documents. Their explanations, their vocabulary, their vision of networks and civil society, their conviction that without external pressure the human rights situation would deteriorate, their very depiction of global processes all echo Washington’s. If human rights groups pointed to declining American credibility in the area of human rights, some twenty government task forces were even more alarmed. According to a typical report, Washington had “no credibility” left; its power to persuade was in a state of crisis, because American policies were seen “by the overwhelming majority of Muslims as a threat to the survival of Islam itself.”[85] What we were calling terrorism was to Muslims a “renewal of the Muslim world,” not simply a “religious revival.”[86] Moreover, “Muslims do not hate our freedoms, they hate our policies.” Support for Israel, the occupation of Iraq, and war in Afghanistan all evoked “legacies of Western colonial attitudes.” Arabs held the United States responsible for propping up the “tyrannies of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jordan, and the Gulf states,” creating for it a “strategically awkward—and potentially dangerous—situation.”[87]

What Washington and human rights groups saw as a commitment to “universal values” Muslims saw as a war against their faith. They were nothing like the oppressed Eastern Europeans who had turned to Washington during the Cold War; they wanted liberation from the “apostate tyranny that the U.S. so determinedly promotes and defends.”[88] They wanted freedom from us. Washington’s task was to fashion the “war of ideas” so as to sustain policies that it had little intention of changing—a conundrum that inevitably led to contradictory tactical maneuvering and the usual charges of “misperception.” Washington was also far more blunt about what it means to handle the “processes of change.” “Imagine a large map of the world,” said the chairman of the National Intelligence Council. “Let’s say we stick a pin in every country that had a low per capita income. And another for a high rate of infant mortality. Another for a sizable ‘youth bulge’… And another pin to mark an absence of political freedoms and participatory government.” What have you got at the end of this exercise? “A large number of vulnerable states—many in the Muslim world.”[89] As one task force commented, “the United States is not seeking to contain a threatening state/empire, but rather to convert a broad movement within Islamic civilization to accept the value structure of Western modernity—an agenda hidden within the official rubric of a ‘War on Terrorism.’”[90] Democratization, in short, was a code word for support of “secular moderates linked to us—an admittedly scarce breed in the Arab world.” According to a Council of Foreign Relations study, to “reduce the possibility that the Islamist movement will overwhelm more open Middle Eastern political systems, Washington should promote constitutional arrangements that would restrain the ‘tyranny of the majority’ to trample the rights of minorities.” This was a shrewd reservation: in the name of those minorities, Washington could safeguard against any political system unfriendly to its reforms.[91] By and large, American human rights leaders have been sympathetic to this argument. “If you go from zero to a hundred in two seconds, you may well be worse off,” noted Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch. “If you try to democratize all at once, without taking any of the preliminary steps needed to allow genuine civil society and the rule of law to emerge, then the mere holding of elections might well make you worse off and allow extremists into office.”[92]

Though human rights groups rarely talk about class and social forces in the Islamic world, national security managers certainly do. Secular business people and middle-class professionals are the “strongholds of opposition to extremism … the first building blocks … that could be the basis of a democratic cadre and an indigenous force for nonviolent change.”[93] Policies thus should focus on reaching, sustaining, and building local Muslim “networks” (the precursor to “civil society”), and promoting local NGOs in order to “extend our reach into the core of the societies and help us to find allies who share our passion for wider participation in society and the economy with special concern for the inclusion of youth and women.”[94] “Radical Islamists” and “radical and dogmatic interpretations of Islam” may be few, but they hold the advantage largely because they have “developed extensive networks spanning the Muslim world and sometimes reaching beyond it, to Muslim communities in North America and Europe.”[95] Moderates simply “do not have the resources to create these networks themselves; they may require an external catalyst.” Washington thus looks to Muslims outside the Arab world, particularly in Indonesia, Turkey, and Europe, to promote a moderate, secular alternative. Their familiarity with Western societies, their exposure to liberal democratic values and the wealth of the West, and their success in maintaining their Muslim identity in a pluralistic society are all to be drawn upon. Once again “civil society” provides prophylaxis from “extremists,” “radical” ways, and “violence.”[96] Washington, in short, sought “the development of a new class that could change the political and social balance in these countries” by fashioning an individualist ethos into a culturally seductive package. The focus was not on the nation or the civilization or the faith but, rather, on “personal control, choice, and change, personal mobility, meritocracy, individual rights (and particular women’s rights).”[97] Zeroing in on their likely constituents, Washington identified the “so-called secularists of the Muslim world: Business people, scientists, non-religious educators, politicians, public administrators, musicians, artists, poets, writers, journalists, actors, and their audiences and admirers”[98] as the most “moveable” targets. Among these the “priority targets” were liberal secular Muslim academics and intellectuals, who tended to gravitate to universities and research centers, as well as young moderate religious scholars uncomfortable in the mosque. Women’s groups engaged in gender equality campaigns were another natural constituency. Finally, moderate journalists and writers needed help with broadcasting their work back into their own countries and, via the web, throughout the Islamic world.

All these moderates had “political values congruent to the universal values underlying all modern liberal societies,”[99] but again empowering them as a class might “require an external catalyst.”[100] As elsewhere, they needed money, organizing, ideas—and a pan-Islamic context to counter the radicals’ advantage in organization, religious funding, and the centrality of the mosque in the local community.”[101] They also needed “conceptual systems to guide and navigate” them toward American ways of thinking[102]—a far cry from the free flow of ideas Washington supposedly defended. Attention, not information, was key. In the words of a Defense Department task force, “What’s around information is critical. Reputations count. Brands are important. Fifty years ago political struggles were about the ability to control and transmit scarce information. Today, political struggles are about the creation and destruction of credibility.”[103] Once again, local leaders could be quietly supported, invited to conferences, praised in the media, given awards and academic appointments, their reputations nourished. If they were abused, they could be spotlighted as human rights fighters; their plight movingly told, their families taken care of. In all these domains Washington appreciated the contributions of human rights—its workers, its honors, its support for NGOs fit with its own agenda well enough.

Washington launched a wide-ranging attack on radical Islamic credibility, seeking to create an “international database of partners (individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, parties) whose work is to be watched and coordinated.”[104] To determine if a group was truly “moderate,” a “reasonably complete picture of its worldview” was necessary.[105] Had it ever condoned violence? If it supported democracy, did it do so “in terms of individual rights?” Did it protect freedom of religion and uphold the right to change religions, the separation of church and state? “Does it support internationally recognized human rights?” Did it challenge Shari’a by advocating “non-shari’a options for those who prefer civil-law matters to be adjudicated under a secular legal system?” Did it support or receive any funding from “radical groups?” At the same time, a frontal assault on radical Islam posed the risks that Washington might be seen as “anti-Islamic” even by some of its closest Middle Eastern allies. The approach to Shari’a is a case in point. As the European Court on Human Rights concluded in 2003, “Shari’a is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy”; it “clearly diverges from conventional values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedures, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervenes in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts.”[106] But the Department of State preferred a more nuanced approach, quietly leaving to human rights workers less diplomatic attacks on Shari’a. Some human rights organizations called for encouraging feminists and a new generation of Islamic scholars to find alternatives within Shari’a, deepen their Islamic legal expertise, create stronger links with other women in the region, and rely less on criticism based on shaming, a highly counterproductive way of censuring religious conduct.But many more human rights professionals, having interviewed hundreds of individuals who had been flogged, accused of blasphemy, denied freedom of speech, punished for being gay, or condemned to stoning as adulterers, see little hope for protection of rights under Shari’a and a nonsecular state. As one Human Rights Watch commentary encapsulated the problem, “when religion is merged with the state, human rights suffer.”[107]

Washington agrees, but prefers to speak just of women’s rights, which provide the perfect wedge issue for challenging radical Islam and transforming Muslim societies. As Laura Bush herself said in a 2001 radio address, “The brutal oppression of women is a central goal of the terrorists.… Only the terrorists and the Taliban forbid education to women. Only the terrorists and the Taliban threaten to pull out women’s fingernails for wearing nail polish. The plight of women and children in Afghanistan is a matter of deliberate human cruelty, carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control.”[108] Human rights leaders heartily concurred. But do arguments like this offer much perspective? Are there progressive voices in the Arab world other than the ones that so closely echo Washington and the leaders of the human rights community? Apparently there are, for recent polls suggest the opposite of what Western leaders like to think. They show little support for American and European interference in the internal affairs of Arab states; the respondents appear to want freedom and democracy without our support. Not surprisingly, “radicals” don’t expect the United States to allow local populations to fashion their own political futures without direct American influence; more surprisingly, perhaps, a large number of “moderates” agree with them. Most notably, it is the politically radicalized Arabs who most strongly favor moving toward democracy, free speech, and elections; moderates tend to focus on education and gradual improvement.[109] Polling further indicates that Middle Eastern conceptions of women’s rights may be less clear-cut than human rights reports and Washington’s public statements suggest. Arab women do not see Islam as inimical to their getting the vote or driving privileges, or to democracy or education. They see a place for Shari’a as a part (but not the whole) of the law. They see Islamic tradition as diverse and do not link it with genital mutilation. (The practice is almost unseen in Egypt.) “While expressing a positive perception of women’s legal status in the West and asserting that this should be the case,” very few women believe that “developing Western values will help their progress”; they also express unease with the “disrespect” men show women in the West, polls report.[110]

What Arab women say they least admire about their society is not all that different from what Arab men say—lack of unity, political and economic corruption, extremism, and dependence on outside power. They speak of human rights as part of a greater struggle against poverty, political repression, war, and the Western policies that reinforce them.[111] In an age of information flow and an increasingly literate Arab world sensitive to historic injustices, there is little possibility that the Middle East will be isolated or that alternative roles for women will remain undiscovered. Where human rights reports speak of inconsistency in Washington’s policy, many Arabs see a long-term consistency; where they speak of hypocrisy, Arabs see a long-term strategy. The reports separate out problems rather than placing them in the broader social contexts that must be fundamentally changed in order to solve them. They promote the idea that Washington’s primary aim is democratization rather than acknowledging that it pursues its own interests. While the polling results in the Middle East suggest that the two currents of human rights are very much interwoven in popular responses, human rights groups still go along with Washington as it turns them against each other in its ongoing “war of ideas.”'

+ "Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-opted Human Rights" (American Empire Project) by James Peck (2011):

Ideal Illusions


  • 1. Associated Press, The President’s News Conference with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan, Tokyo, Japan, February 18, 2002.
  • 2. See Frank Bruni, “Bush and His Presidency Are Transformed,” New York Times, September, 22, 2001, B2.
  • 3.
  • 4. George W. Bush, “Global War on Terror: National Strategy for Combating Terrorism,” Vital Speeches 72, no. 24 (September 15, 2006).
  • 5. Remarks by the President at the United States Air Force Academy Graduation Ceremony, United States Air Force Academy, June 2, 2004, APP.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. George W. Bush, Address to the Joint Session of Congress, September 20, 2001, in “National Strategy for Combating Terrorism 2003,” 29.
  • 8. National Security Council, “Strengthen Alliances to Defeat Global Terrorism and Work to Prevent Attacks Against Us and Our Friends,”
  • 9. Department of State, “National Strategy for Combating Terrorism,” February 2003,
  • 10. Remarks by the President at the United States Air Force Academy Graduation Ceremony, United States Air Force Academy, June 2, 2004, APP.
  • 11. Harry S. Truman, special message to the Congress on Greece and Turkey: “The Truman Doctrine,” March 12, 1947, APP.
  • 12. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Address at the Columbia University National Bicentennial Dinner, New York City, May 31, 1954, APP.
  • 13. Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks in Atlantic City at the Convention of the American Association of School Administrators, February 16, 1966, APP.
  • 14. Ronald Reagan, Remarks following discussions with Prime Minister Shimon Peres of Israel, October 17, 1985, APP.
  • 15. Peter J. Katzenstein, “Same War, Different Views: Germany, Japan, and Counterterrorism,” International Organization 57, no. 4 (Autumn 2003): 734.
  • 16. Kuala Lumpur Declaration on International Terrorism, April 1–2, 2002,
  • 17. Benjamin Netanyahu, Preface in International Terrorism: Challenge and Response, ed. Benjamin Netanyahu (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1981), 1.
  • 18. Kofi Annan, UN radio, March 11, 2005.
  • 19.
  • 20. National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, February 2003,
  • 21. Paul Hoffman, “Human Rights and Terrorism,” Human Rights Quarterly 26, no. 4 (2004).
  • 22. Kenneth Roth, “Human Rights and the Campaign Against Terrorism,” Carnegie Council, March 14, 2002, interview with Joanne J. Meyers,
  • 23. Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2005,” 6.
  • 24. Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2006,” 2.
  • 25. Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2003,” xxxii.
  • 26. Kenneth Roth, “Constitutional Democracy Colloquium,” Dissent, no. 43 (Fall 2004): 14.
  • 27. President Bush Graduation Speech at West Point, June 1, 2002, APP.
  • 28. Paul Johnson, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Terrorism,” in International Terrorism, ed. Benjamin Netanyahu (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1981), 15.
  • 29. Lord Chalfont, “Opening Remarks: Terrorism and the Gulag,” in ibid., 328.
  • 30. Benzion Netanyahu, “Introduction,” in ibid., 5.
  • 31. Ibid.
  • 32. William P. Barr, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, “Targeting Innocent Civilians,” November 28, 2001.
  • 33. Human Rights Watch, Cluster Munitions and the Proportionality Test , Memorandum to Delegates of the Convention on Conventional Weapons, April 7, 2008, Human Rights Watch website (hereafter HRWWS).
  • 34. Michael Mandel, How America Gets Away with Murder (London: Pluto Press, 2004).
  • 35. Major General George J. Keegan, Jr., “The Myth and the Reality of the PLO,” in International Terrorism, ed. Benjamin Netanyahu (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1981), 340.
  • 36. Benzion Netanyahu, “Opening Session: The Face of Terrorism,” in ibid., 5.
  • 37. Benjamin Netanyahu, Terrorism: How the West Can Win (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1986), 5, 36.
  • 38. Paul Johnson, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Terrorism,” 12.
  • 39. Kenneth Roth, “Misplaced Priorities: Human Rights and the Campaign Against Terrorism,” Harvard International Review (Fall 2002).
  • 40. Kenneth Roth, Philanthropy News Digest, Foundation Service (June 16, 2003),
  • 41. Kenneth Roth, “Walk the Freedom Talk, Mr. Bush,” The Globe and Mail, November 26, 2003, A21.
  • 42. Kenneth Roth, “A Dangerous Security,” World Link 15, no. 1 (January–February 2002): 43.
  • 43. Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2003,” xxv.
  • 44. Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton, Coordinator for Counterterrorism, testimony, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 13, 2006, p. 26.
  • 45. Senator John Danforth, “Terrorism versus Democracy,” International Terrorism: Challenge and Response (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1981), 117.
  • 46. Ibid.
  • 47. James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket (New York: Macmillan, 1985), 213.
  • 48. Robert Fisk quoted in Michael Mandel, How America Gets Away with Murder, 47.
  • 49. Mandel, How America Gets Away with Murder, 51.
  • 50. Ibid.
  • 51. Ben Saul, “Two Justifications of Terrorism: A Moral Legal Response,” Foreign Policy in Focus, January 10, 2006,
  • 52. Kate Gilmore, Amnesty International, “‘The War Against Terrorism’: A Human Rights Perspective,”
  • 53. Ibid.
  • 54. See Noam Chomsky, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006); Noam Chomsky, Rogue States (Boston: South End Press, 2000); and Noam Chomsky, “The United States Is a Leading Terrorist State,” interview with David Barsamian, Monthly Review 53, no. 6 (November 2001).
  • 55. Edward Peck, Democracy Now, July 28, 2006,
  • 56. For example, Noam Chomsky, “International Terrorism: Image and Reality,” in Western State Terrorism, ed. Alexander George (London: Routledge, 1991).
  • 57. Kenneth Roth, “A Dangerous Security,” World Link 15, no. 1 (January–February 2002).
  • 58. BBC Editorial Guidelines, “Terrorism, Use of Language When Reporting,”
  • 59. Ibid.
  • 60. Norman Solomon quoting Reuters, “Media Spin Revolves Around the Word ‘Terrorist,’” October 5, 2001,
  • 61. George W. Bush, “Remarks to the UNITY: Journalists of Color Convention,” August 6, 2004, See also Dana Milbank, “Reprising a War with Words,” Washington Post, August 17, 2004, A13,
  • 62. Such debates continued throughout the Bush administration. See Mike Nizza, “Thoughts on Tweaking the ‘War on Terror’ Message,” New York Times, May 29, 2008. “Words matter,” a Homeland Security memo argued in calling for a shift in language. “The terminology the [U.S. government] uses should convey the magnitude of the threat we face, but also avoid inflating the religious bases and glamorous appeal of the extremists’ ideology.” Perhaps, then, instead of speaking of a “war on terror,” use “a global struggle for security and progress”—an admittedly less mobilizing phrase. CNN, “Agency Urges Caution with Terrorist Language,” May 30, 2008,
  • 63. Michael Ignatieff, The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2005), 83.
  • 64. CIA, “National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, February 2003, p. 6, terrorism/Counter_Terrorism_Strategy.pdf.
  • 65. Robert L. Hutchings, Chairman, National Intelligence Council, “Terrorism and Economic Security,” International Security Management Association, Scottsdale, Arizona, January 14, 2004,
  • 66. General Richard Meyers, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, “The U.S. Military: A Global View of Peace and Security in the 21st Century,” U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda 7 (December 2002): 14,
  • 67. Ibid., 15.
  • 68. Ibid.
  • 69. Robert L. Hutchings, Chair, NIC, “The World After Iraq,” April 8, 2003,
  • 70. Dr. Condoleezza Rice, “A Balance of Power That Favors Freedom,” October 1, 2002,
  • 71. Robert L. Hutchings, NIC, “The World After Iraq,” April 8, 2003,
  • 72. George W. Bush, Address to the Joint Session of Congress, September 20, 2001, in “National Strategy for Combating Terrorism,” February 2003, p. 2,
  • 73. Dr. Condoleezza Rice, “A Balance of Power That Favors Freedom.”
  • 74. Robert L. Hutchings, Chairman, National Intelligence Council, “Terrorism and Economic Security.”
  • 75. Jerrold M. Post, former CIA official, exemplifies such analyses. See The Mind of the Terrorist: The Psychology of Terrorism from the IRA to Al-Qaeda (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
  • 76. Robert A. Pape, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (New York: Random House, 2005), 23.
  • 77. Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Confronting Anti-American Grievances,” New York Times, September 1, 2002, C9.
  • 78. Kenneth Roth, “Walk the Freedom Talk, Mr. Bush,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), November 26, 2003, A21.
  • 79. Jerrold M. Post, The Mind of the Terrorist, 163, 166.
  • 80. Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2006,” 8.
  • 81. Kenneth Roth, “Darfur and Abu Ghraib,” Human Rights World Report, (2005): 11.
  • 82. Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2006,” 8.
  • 83. Human Rights Watch Backgrounder, “Human Rights in Saudi Arabia: A Deafening Silence,” December 2001, p. 2.
  • 84. Joseph T. Siegle and Morton H. Halperin, “Bush’s Rhetoric Battles with His Policies, International Herald Tribune, February 8, 2005,
  • 85. Department of Defense, Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communications, September 2004, pp. 43, 35,
  • 86. Ibid., 43.
  • 87. Ibid.
  • 88. Ibid., 36.
  • 89. Robert L. Hutchings, National Intelligence Council, “The Sources of Terrorist Conduct,” March 19, 2004,
  • 90. Ibid., 36.
  • 91. Council on Foreign Relations, In Support of Arab Democracy: How and Why, 2005,…/Arab_Democracy_TF.pdf.
  • 92. Kenneth Roth, Philanthropy News Digest (June 16, 2003): 11,
  • 93. Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World, “Changing Minds, Winning Peace: A New Strategic Direction of U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World,” 53–54,
  • 94. Ibid., 53.
  • 95. Angel Rabasa, Cerryl Nenard, Lowell H. Schwartz, Peter Sickle, Building Moderate Muslim Networks (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2007), iii.
  • 96. Ibid., 51.
  • 97. Department of Defense, Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communications, September 2004, 56.
  • 98. Ibid., 52.
  • 99. Angel Rabasa et al., Building Moderate Muslim Networks, 3,
  • 100. Ibid., xii.
  • 101. Ibid., xx.
  • 102. Department of Defense, Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force, September 2004, 53
  • 103. Ibid., 20. This is the argument also made by Joseph S. Nye Jr., “The Information Revolution and American Soft Power,” Asia-Pacific Review 9, no. 1 (2002): 69.
  • 104. Angel Rabasa et al., “Building Moderate Muslim Networks,” xxi.
  • 105. Ibid., 69.
  • 106. European Court of Human Rights, Case of Refah Partisis (the Welfare Party) and others v. Turkey , February 13, 2003. Also Naz K. Modirzadeh, “Taking Islamic Law Seriously: INGOs and the Battle for Muslim Hearts and Minds,” Harvard Journal of Human Rights 19 (Spring 2006).
  • 107. Kathleen Peratis, “Turn to Sharia to Promote Human Rights in Muslim Countries,” September 29, 2006, Also see Jean-Paul Marthoz and Joseph Saunders, “Religion and the Human Rights Movement,” Human Rights Watch, “World Report 2005,” HRWWS.
  • 108. Laura Bush, Radio Address, November 17, 2001, APP. Also see Carol A. Staible, “Unveiling Imperialism: Media, Gender, and the War on Afghanistan,” Media, Culture, and Society 27, no. 5 (2005): 765.
  • 109. John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed, Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think (New York: Gallup Press, 2007), 80.
  • 110. Ibid., 107.
  • 111. As Olivier Roy notes, “Isolating the issue of women’s rights, as if women were also some sort of specific and separate group (it is difficult to speak in terms of minority here), is also a problem: how is one to address the ‘Islamist’ women? The point is not that we need to ‘know better’ in order to avoid mistakes; it is that we should not use concepts and models that may create more problems than solutions.” Roy, “The Predicament of ‘Civil Society’ in Central Asia and the ‘Greater Middle East,’”International Affairs, no. 5 (2005): 1011.
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