Essay On 'S War On Terrorism

Essay About Christmas - Essay On 'S War On Terrorism

Bush and his political aides after the 2001 9/11 attacks to securitize terrorism as a threat to the US, and hence legitimise military action.[1] Bush’s ‘war on terror’ has been consistently criticised for being ‘unwinnable’, because its actors were ill-defined and elusive.[2] Since 2008, however, President Barack Obama has reframed the discourse and redefined its primary actors.[3] This essay determines whether Obama’s adapted ‘war on terror’ discourse solves the problems of Bush’s and constructs a war in which victory can be both achieved and measured.This content was written by a student and assessed as part of a university degree.E-IR publishes student essays & dissertations to allow our readers to broaden their understanding of what is possible when answering similar questions in their own studies.Therefore, the ‘war on terror’ is defined as a discourse that not only discusses but also legitimises and shapes US counterterrorism strategy.It is primarily a US-propagated discourse; as Baker-Beall suggests, counterterrorism strategies elsewhere are framed in different discursive structures, for instance the ‘fight against terrorism’ in Europe.This ‘hateful ideology’, therefore, becomes the fundamental threat – the material actor is merely a manifestation of the enemy.[40] It must also be acknowledged that this ideology is presented as inherently Islamic.Obama’s superficial attempt to detach terrorism from Islam is unsuccessful; he consistently asserts that ISIS ‘distort Islam’, that they practice a ‘perversion of Islam’.[41] This does not separate the two but in fact suggests that the root of terrorism is found in Islam – terrorism is still a (albeit distorted) creation of the Islamic faith.According to Buzan and Waever’s securitization theory, for states to legitimise and hence realise military action and war, its political elites must discursively construct a particular problem as a security threat, thereby justifying the state to go beyond normal political practice to eliminate such threat. It is a discourse constructed after the 9/11 attacks by Bush and his political aides; it constructed terrorism as an ‘existential threat’ to America and Americans, thereby legitimising military action.Furthermore, this essay takes a constructivist approach by suggesting that language and social reality are interdependent and inseparable; it is language, meanings and identities that shape and constrain social reality.America and its coalition allies are presented as epitomising freedom; Obama states that ‘we stand for freedom’, while Secretary of State John Kerry states that ‘free expression and a free press are core values’ that constitute the enemies of terrorism.[30] Furthermore, Obama speaks about how ‘our values’ define ‘us’, such as a belief in equality where everyone is ‘equal in the eyes of God’.[31] Additionally, in Obama’s last foreign policy speech as a serving president, he stated that ‘our democracy’ is the ‘nature of who we are’ – it is democracy and its ‘civil liberties that define us’.[32] Finally, in Obama’s speech addressing the November 2015 Paris attacks, he suggests that the self ‘represents the timeless value of human progress’.[33] Therefore, the ‘self’ is not only a material international coalition, but by epitomising the values of Western liberal thought, it takes ‘on all the historic qualities of Western civilisation’, as Fermor argues.[34] The ‘other’ is constructed in opposition to this; it is illiberal, genocidal, barbaric and backward.Firstly, the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in 2015 were constructed by Kerry as ‘vicious acts of violence’ by terrorists who are ideologically opposed to freedom and seek to destroy it.[35] Furthermore, terrorists’ beliefs necessitate the ‘execut[ion] of Christians solely because of their faith’; they are ‘genocidal…by ideology’ and are guilty of ‘ethnic cleansing’.[36] In addition, the barbarity of terrorist ideology is demonstrated, as the killing of innocents is a key theme in the discourse; Obama consistently asserts that ISIS are ‘unique in their brutality’, and that they massacre, enslave, rape, and starve innocent women and children.[37] Obama also repeatedly suggests that this barbarism is a product of terrorists’ twisted ideology, which ‘inspires people to violence’.[38] Kerry also stressed in 2016, that ISIS conduct a ‘systematic effort to destroy the cultural heritage’ of ancient civilisations – they are thus presented as opposed to civilisation itself.[39] Therefore, the material actors of the terrorists are discursively constructed as driven by a barbaric, illiberal and backward ideology.


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