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Unformatted text preview: s employed not
only to portray the enemy, but also to frame the entire war on terror. The
Western leaders and the mass media made an effort to construct this international conflict as a persecution of criminals, not as a war between nation-states or between the West and the Orient. Such an approach is evident in the frequent use of the crim*(-e/s, -inal/s) morpheme (33 hits). It
is also indirectly supported by the dichotomy between the representation
of casualties: 186 Chapter IV (121) [Gingrich:] After the 1996 attack on Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, where 19 of our military personnel were murdered, we failed to
apply the necessary pressure to force the Saudi Government to deal
with terrorists based on their soil. (TERRORISM IS A CRIME conceptual metaphor)
He [Rumsfeld ] can be brutally frank, as he has been when discussing the deaths of civilians. “There’s no question but that when one
is engaged militarily, there is going to be unintended loss of life. It
has always been the case. It certainly will be the case in this instance. And there’s no question but that I and anyone involved regrets the unintended loss of life,” he said.
Bob Marshall-Andrews (Lab, Medway) said that to try bin Laden at
an international court, even in his absence, would signal to the Islamic world that he was accused of an international crime against
humanity. (TERRORISM IS A CRIME conceptual metaphor)
In these examples killing American military personnel and American civilians is described as a crime, while killing Afghan civilians as an unintended
loss of life, the key difference being the intentionality and declared regret on
the part of the perpetrators. However, if the deaths of the civilians ha[ve] always been the case [and] will be the case in this instance, it seems a bit cynical to claim that regret significantly changes the qualification of the action.
The change seems to apply at the verbal level, not the factual level.
Construing the war on terror as a law-enforcing operation invites
the use of the Wild West rhetoric, where the good sheriff persecutes the
evil criminals. Such vague references ring in generating “most wanted”
lists and setting a price on the heads of the Al Qaeda leaders.
These efforts are sometimes contradicted by the policy makers
themselves (see 122), which adds to the general conceptual confusion,
which resulted from the war on terror:
(122) We were at war, but we insisted on reacting as if these were problems for the criminal justice system. Terrorism of this kind is not a
law enforcement problem. It is a diplomatic, military, and intelligence agency problem.
The conceptualisation problem appeared at the very onset of the war on
terror policy-building and -reporting, when President Bush used the word A qualitative analysis of war news 187 crusade. In the period analysed here he is trying to clarify the issue and
with much determination denies that the war has any religious or cultural
innuendoes (see Silberstein 2002, see Chapter Three, Section 7). Simultaneously, however, he uses r...
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