Talk:War on terror

From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is a stub and thus not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
To learn how to fill out this checklist, please see CZ:The Article Checklist. To update this checklist edit the metadata template.
 Definition A major policy of the George W. Bush Administration, defining global terrorism, as opposed to nation-states as in the Cold War, as the focal point of national security policy [d] [e]

Lethal pens

"The President fired the first shot in the war on terrorism with the stroke of his pen "

Didn't James Bond or Maxwell Smart do that first? Howard C. Berkowitz 14:52, 26 June 2008 (CDT)

I loved the original Get Smart TV show. George Swan 15:28, 26 June 2008 (CDT)

Again, CZ is about context and interpretation

Footnotes are not the places for lengthy quotes. Indeed, it's often better to paraphrase and analyze than to quote. It would be, perhaps, something else if these were the prose of a Churchill or a Lincoln. What should be drawn from the quotes?

  • quote=Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.

Who are defined as terrorists? What U.S. law applies? What formal mechanisms exist for declaring groups and organizations suspect? This can be as broad as declaring state sponsors of terrorism or as specific as getting on a seemingly unchallengeable and secret list that prevents people of a common name from boarding airliners.

  • quote=The President fired the first shot in the war on terrorism with the stroke of his pen to seize terrorist financial assets and disrupt their fundraising pipelines. The world financial community is moving to starve the terrorists of their financial support. 196 countries support the financial war on terror; 142 countries have acted to freeze terrorist assets; in the U.S. alone, the assets of 153 known terrorists, terrorist organizations, and terrorist financial centers have been frozen; and major terrorist financial networks have been closed down.

I can think of quite a bit of financial activities that could be linked to and from this. Start with financial intelligence, and there's a huge amount of information available.

  • quote=To win the war on terror, we must be able to detain, question, and, when appropriate, prosecute terrorists captured here in America, and on the battlefields around the world.

Again, this belongs in context. What new legal interpretations are there? Are they consistent with customary international law? What has been supported and fought? Why not even relate these to your articles on specific cases?

Now, the next quote certainly could be used for anyone who wanted an example of confused writing. Perhaps this is a demonstration that he can't express it coherently, but there are better-written policy documents on the White House web site. Try "National Security Policy of the United States".

  • quote=See, Iraq is a part of the global war on terror. It's not "the" global war on terror, it's a theater in the global war on terror. And if we fail in Iraq, it's going to embolden al Qaeda types. It will weaken the resolve of moderate nations to stand up to the Islamic fascists. It will cause people to lose their nerve and not stay strong.

I removed the document count. It's not especially meaningful without a date, and it also assumes that all White House documents are on the Web, or, indeed, all Administration speeches are in writing: Over six thousand documents generated by [[the White House]] use this phrase.<ref>[ web search for speeches, press releases, and other white house documents that mention the phrase "war on terror"]</ref>

Please, George. Depth. There are lots of places to get indignant declarations and Bush quotes, starting with Why should someone come to CZ for this? Howard C. Berkowitz 19:10, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Guidance, not rewrite

I have started a Related Articles page to give some idea of a substantive context for these positions. My suggestion would be that rather than use press quotes, get the overall National Security Policy of the United States, and the terrorism policy, from the White House Web Site, which, IIRC, are in the NSC area.

Again, I would suggest not using journalistic sources as the primary reference for either side. I can offer articles on insurgency, counterinsurgency, and some of the work by McCormick, Cordesman, Eizenstat, Kilcullen and others about what drives the insurgents that commit terror. One can compare the policies to historical and analytic work on theories alternate to the George W. Bush Administration principles.

While this article does not deal with interrogation, again, there are detailed articles on human intelligence already on CZ. Might I suggest you look at them, especially since they may go more deeply into certain of the operational manuals and reports, and see how consistent, or not, the political positions may be with those of professionals in the areas?

One could even make some interesting analyses of the policymakers' backgrounds in these areas. Compare, for example, the backgrounds of a Eric Shinseki, then a David Petraeus, against a Geoffrey Taylor and a Douglas Feith. Look at the Office of Special Plans, and put it in the context of what is generally accepted to be good intelligence support to policymakers.

Howard C. Berkowitz 05:11, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Another thought on defining things, which has been in the insurgency article for months, and could have been linked.
While there is no accepted definition in international law, a United Nations-sponsored working definitions include one drafted for the Policy Working Group on theUnited Nations and Terrorism. Reporting to the Secretary-General in 2002, the Working Group stated the following:
Without attempting a comprehensive definition of terrorism, it would be useful to

delineate some broad characteristics of the phenomenon. Terrorism is, in most cases, essentially a political act. It is meant to inflict dramatic and deadly injury on civilians and to create an atmosphere of fear, generally for a political or ideological (whether secular or religious) purpose. Terrorism is a criminal act, but it is more than mere criminality. To overcome the problem of terrorism it is necessary to understand its political nature as well as its basic criminality and psychology. The United Nations

needs to address both sides of this equation.”[1]
Make use of what is already on CZ; don't go reinvent the wheel, and do it with journalistic sound bytes. There are multiple, extensively referenced articles on the general problem, but are not so exclusively focused on the decisions of one group of politicians. Howard C. Berkowitz 06:13, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

More cleanup, months later

There were four citations in a row, apparently supporting one sentence. On checking the link, they actually referred to an initial statement, a report 100 days later, and next to activities 5 years later. There's a huge gap to be filled, and, I should note, abundant White House documentation on what it defines as the WoT.

"Critics" may quite reasonably disagree with those definitions, but they need to be sourced.

Right now, this article has a few sentences about the initial use of the term, and then a great lack of detail, followed by editorializing and specifics that came much, much later. Minor details such as the Iraq War are not mentioned as things that happened between the initial speeches and the much-later reports.

This badly needs work, if nothing more than linking to things like Gulf War and operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere. I'd note we still don't have a single article that focuses on the post-9/11 operation in Afghanistan, internationally noteworthy for factors including that it was the first invocation of the NATO charter. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:33, 7 December 2008 (UTC)


  1. Secretary General's Policy Working Group on the United Nations and Terrorism (December 2004), "Preface", Focus on Crime and Society 4, (A/57/273-S/2002/875, annex)