At war with an emotion—terror

We are at war against ‘terror’. It’s the first war against an emotion, for terror is extreme fear. We are afraid of being afraid, so we terrorize others. It’s a license to kill, anyone, anywhere, without hindrance of evidence or trial. You got a problem with that?

The war on terror is perpetual and without limits. Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Mali, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt. Seek and destroy these terrorists. A swath of destruction left by the grim reapers’ scythe.

This is OK as long as it doesn’t effect us, you think. But this war includes us too. It is the merest possibility that terrorists might be among our midst that legitimizes State surveillance into the minutia of our lives by the National Security Agency and GCHQ. Every email, phone conversation, every commercial transaction, every move you make in life is monitored.

The security in question is not actually ours you understand—you have a better chance of drowning in your bath than being harmed by a terrorist—but that of the State. What it wants to keep secure is what it doesn’t want you to know. That’s why the man who revealed details of this mass surveillance—Edward Snowden—is not feted as a hero, but vilified as traitorous fugitive.

These are grounds, are they not, for scrutinizing ‘terror’, and this I will do over the next few days.

For complete details of Snowden’s revelations see The NSA files. See especially What the revelations mean for you. For posts on the ‘war on terror’ in this blog see here.

The featured image is of three children whose fathers had just been killed by a American drone in Yemen. I have taken this from Iona Craig’s (@ionacraig) Twitter feed. The original is here.

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