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View Full Version : War on (insert concept here)?



TomF
05-03-2006, 11:49 AM
By definition, a war is a conflict between political units or groups. Between bunches of people, who may (among other things) hold different values or beliefs. I can certainly understand conflicts between people who hold such different beliefs, but not among the beliefs themselves.

Such a war is by definition, neither fightable, nor winnable. Wars on poverty, drugs, and communism were each fought ... with the result that poverty's still around, illicit drugs are available at my daughter's school, and Marx is still in public libraries.

Which is not to say that drug dealers haven't also been prosecuted, and the political unit called the Soviet Union toppled. Poverty, alas, seems to have won.

Other than as a catchy slogan, what meaning then can a "war on terror" or even on "terrorism" have? Terror is a method of warfare - could one, perhaps, also declare a war on naval power? Or on air power? How would you know if you'd won?

I think that opposing specific people, who embrace terrorism as a tactic, makes enormous sense. I think, on the other hand, that declaring war on a concept is entirely unwinnable, however catchy the PR sounds. It's a deflection from one's true intent - which is to gain the mandate to fight potentially a motley group of opponents, without the need of asking for the legitimate authority to pursue each individually.

Osborne Russell
05-03-2006, 03:32 PM
Other than as a catchy slogan, what meaning . . .

Ha ha! As if!

PatCox
05-03-2006, 03:45 PM
When you think about it, hasn't every single metaphorical war turned out to be a complete, total failure, if not a disaster? When you hear someone proposing a "war on __" its time run.

RichKrough
05-03-2006, 03:45 PM
War on terriers! one of the little hairy sumbitches sneaked up on me while I was riding this morning and tried to take a chunk from my heel.
I damn near ruined a $35 tire pump whacking him across the nose :mad:

Meerkat
05-03-2006, 03:47 PM
:eek: You wacked a dog?!?!?

You're supposed to flog dogs, not wack them! :D :D :D

huisjen
05-03-2006, 03:48 PM
War on tripe!

George.
05-03-2006, 03:54 PM
"Freedom for the Greeks!"

Worked for Sparta, even though they were a Greek-slave-holding oligarchy... ;)

sv Lorelei
05-03-2006, 04:41 PM
declaring war on a concept is entirely unwinnable, however catchy the PR sounds. It's a deflection from one's true intent - which is to gain the mandate to fight potentially a motley group of opponents, without the need of asking for the legitimate authority to pursue each individually.

Or more insidiously, it is unwinnable as a conflict, but a very facile way to gain lattitude in one's ablility to act in extra-legal ways. The fact that it isn't winnable means you don't have to worry about peace coming along and placing constraints on you when you lose your "war powers". I'm surprised nobody's really made much of this angle.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
05-03-2006, 05:39 PM
Too true...
http://www.waronwant.org/

LeeG
05-03-2006, 06:30 PM
War on Peace, it's a long war.