Endless War?: Hidden Functions of the 'War on Terror'
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Was the Iraq war really an act of goodwill to liberate people from injustice? Or was it a strategic move to maintain US dominance globally? Endless War? casts a critical light on the real motives behind war and conflict. David Keen explores how winning war is rarely an end in itself; rather, war tends to be part of a wider political and economic game that is consistent with strengthening the enemy. Keen devises a radical framework for analysing an unending war project, where the "war on terror" is an extension of the Cold War. The book draws on the author's detailed study of wars in Sudan, Sierra Leone, as well as in a range of other conflicts. It provides a new approach to conflict analysis that will be of use to students across development studies and the social sciences.
and especially the ‘magical thinking’ it involved – did not come out of nowhere. It sprang from forces and traditions that would help to shape a Democrat administration, and not just a Republican one.2 This chapter sketches some of the historical, cultural and intellectual context in which the madness of a ‘war on terror’ became (for some) a plausible and even respectable idea. A country does not necessarily react to attack by targeting a foreign enemy or by accepting its own government’s
Pakistani eyes, American foreign policy is targeting the religion of Islam. Will Pakistan be next? It is the question on [ 47 ] Keen02_cha02.qxd 13/02/2006 09:56 Page 48 E N D L E S S WA R ? everybody’s lips. Suddenly, the Islamic parties no longer seem to be on the margins of society but triumphantly riding a new wave of national bitterness and frustration.260 Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s popularity in Pakistan foundered when he gave his support for the attack on Afghanistan, not
time of the attacks on New York and Washington, Bush’s standing in the opinion polls was at its lowest point since his inauguration, with only 50 per cent of respondents giving him a positive rating. Within two days of the attacks, the figure had shot up to 82 per cent. By 13–14 March 2003, the figure had slipped back to 53 per cent, but on 18 March Bush declared war with Iraq and his rating shot up to 68 per cent.135 Sidney Blumenthal commented in February 2005, ‘The more terrorism dominates the
much in the same way that Afghanistan did during the struggle against the occupying Soviet forces. Anger and fear have also been stoked by more general US proclamations of a right to unilateral military action and ‘preventive self-defence’. Time magazine noted that its interviews with religious leaders, Islamic scholars, government analysts and ordinary citizens in dozens of countries around the world ‘reveal that the fervor of those who adhere to radical forms of Islam has intensified since
tribes … [to] spread a lively terror.’99 Counter-terror and the proliferation of enemies When the transatlantic alliance’s violent and illegal response to 9/11 led to widespread condemnation, this tended to heighten the threat of shame. One technique for warding this off was to treat every abuse as an exception, as when Bush said photographs of Abu Ghraib ‘do not represent America’. Comedian Rob Corddry satirised this approach when he said, ‘It’s our principles that matter, our inspiring,