Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Social Era of the War on Terror

Brittany Liebenow

War on Terror Entry

11 April 2010

The Social Era of the War on Terror

Wikipedia describes the war on terror as a phrase coined by President George W. Bush used to name the supposed war against terrorism worldwide. While Wikipedia is not a refutable, and maybe not an AP worthy, source, I have chosen to draw upon Wikipedia’s information to bring to light what many people think the war on terror is. Wikipedia, after all, is edited by many different common people as long as those people can cite their sources. This definition, as a result, shows that the vast majority of English-speaking people think the war on terror is a title that is stretched quite generously in order to accommodate war and human rights abuse. While this Wikipedia entry does go on to describe specific actions and wars taken in the supposed war on terror, the first thing that the entry discusses is that it is a campaign under one president, George W. Bush, and not used by America’s current president, President Obama. The war on terror, in accordance with Wikipedia’s entry, died with termination of George W. Bush’s presidency.

I agree with Wikipedia. Actions carried out under the umbrella phrase war on terror are still going on now, but the war on terror is considered over. In my opinion, the war on terror was never an actual war but a phrase used by President Bush in an attempt to label a group of actions and a social phenomenon. Wikipedia even shows that the war on terror supposedly started after the September 11, 2001 attacks. After those attacks, our country as a whole was devastated; those attacks triggered a social movement towards protecting our country and beating the terrorists. These events triggered a new Cold War: the terrorists were the Soviets and America was America. It was us or them, and if you weren’t completely with America, you were against America.

The war on terror described a social climate in which, through fear and nationalism, people were willing to go to war to protect our country as long as there was a leader willing to take us to war. We as Americans were scared, and any progressive steps forward, no matter how violent, were accepted so long as they promised to prevent another September 11th. The actions that played off of this were the stereotypical events in the war on terror: Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom among other smaller invasions and attacks.

Why aren’t those events the war on terror? Why don’t those invasions and attacks equal a war? Those events are part of the war on terror, and those invasions and attacks do equal a war. The war on terror, however, is more than just a war or even set of wars. Remember that the war on terror ended when President Bush left office. Wasn’t this also the time of immense social change? President Obama’s entire campaign was hinged on that one word. Change. We are still at war with the same people we were at war with during the war on terror. The actual fighting, the actual war, is still going on. The war on terror, however, is over because we as a country have left the social era created by the fear of September 11th.

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