Talk on Terrorism

Topics: Terrorism, September 11 attacks, Islam Pages: 53 (19248 words) Published: June 10, 2013
The discourse of “Terrorism” represents opposite binaries portraying the “terrorists” as the enemy of the West. Jackson 07-(Richard, Ph.D in conflict resolution, 2007, Government and Opposition, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 394–426, “Constructing Enemies: ‘Islamic Terrorism’ in Political and Academic Discourse)

The discourse is first and foremost founded on the deployment of a series of core labels, terms and discursive formations, including, among others: ‘the Islamic world’, ‘the West’, ‘the Islamic revival’, ‘political Islam’, ‘Islamism’, ‘extremism’, ‘radicalism’, ‘fundamental- ism’, ‘religious terrorism’, ‘jihadists’, ‘Wahhabis’, ‘Salafis’, ‘militants’, ‘moderates’, ‘global jihadist movement’, ‘al-Qaeda’, and of course, ‘Islamic terrorism’. Crucially, in their textual usage these terms are often vaguely defined (if at all), yet culturally loaded and highly flexible in the way they are deployed. In addition, these labels and terms are organized into a series of dramatic oppositional binaries, such as the West versus the Islamic world, extremists versus moderates, violent versus peaceful, demo- cratic versus totalitarian, religious versus secular, medieval versus modern and savage versus civilized. Such powerful categories func- tion to construct ‘Islamic terrorists’ and ‘extremists’ as particular kinds of subjects within the overall discourse and enforce highly constricting subject positions upon them vis-à-vis other subjects, such as ‘decent people’, ‘democratic states’ or ‘moderate Muslims’, for example. Importantly, they also render unreasonable more nuanced narratives about the often-contradictory identities and characteristics of the narratives’ central actors. The application of labels such as ‘terrorist’, ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘extremist’ to groups like Hamas and Hizbollah for example, functions to obscure their simultaneous exist- ence as political party, social welfare provider, protection force, local association, relief agency, charity, education provider, bank, guerrilla force and the like – as well as position them as the enemy of Western societies.

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This develops infinite adversaries and leads to worldwide civil war that destroys coexistence Enns 04 (Diane, Philosophy Department at the University of Toronto, John Hopkins University Press, Bare Life and the Occupied Body, http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/theory_and_event/v007/7.3enns.html)

Agamben warns that we currently face the most extreme and dangerous developments of the paradigm of security in the name of a state of emergency. Rapidly imposing itself as the basic principle of state activity, security, he argues, is becoming the sole criterion of political legitimization while traditional tasks of the state surrender to a gradual neutralization of politics.2 Ironically, the more security reasoning is promoted, the more vulnerable we become. This is the ultimate risk. Security and terrorism have become a single deadly system in which they legitimate and justify each other's actions. The risk is twofold according to Agamben: not only does the paradigm of security develop a "clandestine complicity of opponents" in which resistance and power are locked together in a mutually reinforcing relationship, but it also leads to "a worldwide civil war which destroys all civil coexistence."3 This is the result of the dependency of security measures on maintaining a state of emergency.

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This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy; it fuels recruitment for organizations and heightens the fear of the target population Jackson 07-(Richard, Ph.D in conflict resolution, 2007, Government and Opposition, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 394–426, “Constructing Enemies: ‘Islamic Terrorism’ in Political and Academic Discourse)

At a more practical level, it can also be argued that the ‘Islamic terrorism’ discourse is proving to be counter-productive in its effects on the broader counter-terrorism campaign of the war on terrorism. For example, it seems...

Links: Gordon 03 (Neve, A Review of Arundhati Roy 's "War Talk" A Complaint for Peace, November 29, 2003, http://www.counterpunch.org/gordon11292003.html)
"Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists," President George W
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