Saturday, September 9

Fighting Terror with Terror

Yesterday on our way up to Maine, Joe and I were listening to NPR’s On Point, the second hour of which featured distinguished author Howard Zinn on the subject of the Iraq war and its futility in bringing democracy to the Iraqi people or achieving greater national security for the United States. Alluding to the tens of thousands of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, Zinn pointed to the hypocrisy and overall ineffectiveness of fighting a War on Terror using terror as a means. Listen to the broadcast here.

The equation of war with terrorism was central to Dr. Zinn’s argument. That position was criticized by David Frum, former special assistant and speech writer to President George W. Bush, current contributing editor to the National Review, and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Reducing the war vs. terrorism discussion to a dorm room debate, Frum made a clear distinction between the two, arguing that what distinguishes terrorism from war is its deliberate targeting of civilians, while in war, civilians are only inadvertently killed. This is an important distinction for conservatives whose defense of American violence overseas in the War on Terror hinges upon the inadvertency factor.

I called in and was lucky enough to get on the air. I pointed out that even if we accept Frum’s distinction between war and terror, then by his own definition, the single greatest act of terrorism ever committed in the history of this planet was when the United States dropped atomic bombs on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War. There was nothing inadvertent about those civilian deaths. The United States deliberately targeted civilians in order to achieve its political and military goals and intimidate the Japanese government into surrender.

That, according to Frum’s own definition, is terrorism. Perhaps the United States should be more careful about throwing around the terrorist label.

6 Comments:

Blogger castor said...

Evidently that Mr.Frum acts the fool to make those people - who reelected Bush - believe of being "intelligent" and "on the right path" to bring their incontrovertible idea of plutocracy (called "democracy" by them) all over our planet with the aid of bloody wars ... but war is and remains terror for the civilian population ... and the horror comedy is going on! It cannot astonish that the victims seek bloody revenge ...

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Gay Erasmus said...

What did Frum say in reply?

1:27 AM  
Blogger Sandouri Dean Bey said...

amen, castor!

g.e.-
frum was only on for part of the conversation, and by the time they took my comment, his portion of the dialogue had ended. i wish i could have heard his response.

2:59 PM  
Blogger The Persian said...

excellent point! Very well made.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Marcelo Daniel said...

Wow Dean! Well said. That's awesome that you called and got through.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Sandouri Dean Bey said...

thanks, boys.

11:25 AM  

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