Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Leaders: New Rhetoric: Old Hat

Hilary Benn is to announce that the war on terror is over, or at least use of the phrase will end on the basis that “We do not use the phrase ‘war on terror’ because we can’t win by military means alone... this isn’t us against one organised enemy with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives,”. Despite, or perhaps because, The Sun in its editorial argued that terrorism is organised and with an identity etc etc, this seems a welcome bit of common sense from the HMG in waiting; though Brown and Benn hardly appear a dream ticket in the polls.

What seems to be absent from comments on Benn's statement is the fact that the phrase War on Terror, a Bushism, is completely nonsensical. The sources of terrorism as Benn is to argue cannot be fought through shock and awe, this has been proven; and besides how do you actually eradicate terror? And how without creating more terror among a different group of innocent (such as the Iraqi people)? Perhaps though we should not abandon the phrase, instead we should make the objectives more realistic - lets nuke the Bogeyman, lets launch a precision offensive on the monster in the closet (whoops was that the bedside lamp?); then again maybe HMG should first consider what would constitute a sensible foreign policy for the current world order and not be too concerned about what to call it.

As an aside, Bush once called the war on terror a fight for freedom;
juxtapose this with the well worn saying "one man's terrorist is another man's
freedom fighter". Ironic eh?
However, back to the point. Given that the media are tipping Benn to be the Deputy PM after Blair, is this the first sweep of the new broom. The signs of change designed to symbolise newness and a shift from a pro-Bush foreign policy and the negative association that are attached to the Blair regime. Is this the first stage in a perception management strategy of distancing Brown from Blair; we shall see!

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