Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 02:43 | SYDNEY
Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 02:43 | SYDNEY

'War on terror' is over, if we want it


Sam Roggeveen


16 January 2009 08:50

My first reaction to the news that UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband had criticised the phrase 'war on terror' was to wonder why he hadn't spoken up before. Miliband has been Foreign Secretary since June 2007 — why didn't he air these concerns earlier, when it might have had some infuence on Bush Administration policy?

But that's unfair. For one thing, figures with more influence on President Bush than a mere British foreign secretary, such as then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, have tried and failed to change Bush Administration policy on the use of this phrase. What's more, the UK Government itself actually stopped using 'war on terror' in late 2006, so it has taken action.

What's all the fuss about, anyway? It's just a phrase, right? Well, Miliband's short op-ed makes an extremely sound case for why 'war on terror' has been counter-productive. As always, you should read the whole thing, but here's Miliband's closing argument:

Terrorists succeed when they render countries fearful and vindictive; when they sow division and animosity; when they force countries to respond with violence and repression. The best response is to refuse to be cowed.