Monday, January 7, 2013

The "war on terror"

Man, things sure have changed. (via)

Yes, I find the quotation marks in the title to be absolutely necessary. I've written previously about the blowhardery, stupidity, and downright racism and sexism of the TSA many times over (the TSA has its own tag, go have fun in there) - but this piece takes a higher-level view than I have done, and I really appreciate it for that.

While I don't like to play semantics too often (the War on Terror is a politicized phrase that became popular after 9/11 to secure massive budgets from Congress), the fact that this "war" has actually resulted in casualties and a changed diplomatic atmosphere requires that we examine the language we use. And wars have measurable goals, and identifiable opponents, and ethics.

And ethics is exactly what has been missing from every conversation about the TSA. Human lives are valuable, and you can't put a dollar amount on them. But to say that saving even one (American) life is worth any amount of unreasonable search and seizure, exposure to radiation, and untold amounts of money is just wrong. It's wrong because those sorts of calculations are EXACTLY what we do when there is a real war.

The "war on terror" started as politics, and has remained politics, even while claiming all of the immunity from scrutiny of a military operation. And it's time that ended.

Yeah, true. (via)

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