The War On Terror: Punishing Everyone For The Actions Of A Few


A recent document by the National Counterterrorism Center, obtained and released by The Intercept, showcases a rating system that has been devised to evaluate families and their risk at turning to violent extremism. Arun Kundnani, a professor at New York University, questions the validity of the rating system and affirms that there is no evidence to support the idea that terrorism or violent extremism is substantively correlated with the listed factors on the survey relating to emotional well-being, identity, and family. The guide itself even admits and recognizes the reality that it is not easy to quantify how effective these programs will be on countering terrorism, as Stephen Harper recently admitted himself. The state continues to pass invasive legislation which erodes the values of citizens, regardless of knowing exactly how the legislation will help or if it will at all. What is clear unfortunately, is how these unfounded and misleading suggestions are going to prompt many to take-up particular suspicion with people in the community, even though they themselves might have nothing whatsoever to do with any criminal activity.


For the most part, the media continues to regurgitate the narrative that we should be wary of all Muslims, regardless if our fears are justified or not. These media stations play a big part in promoting the continuation of current military efforts and aggression, which is irresponsible seeing as those methods are proven to only perpetuate the problem rather than address or solve it. World leaders have also previously admitted that the war on terror isn't meant to end, and as Harper stated last week, he himself doesn't know how the new anti-terror legislation will improve the situation, but he wants to carry-on with it regardless. President Bush has also confirmed in the past that a war on terror could never in fact be won, but in spite of that unpleasant reality, they are still going to waste the lives and money trying to reach that unattainable goal.

Despite over a decade of effort to suppress the threat of “terrorism,” the media puts for the notion that the threat is now more prevalent than ever before. In light of the recent Hebdo and ISIS attacks, France has now joined the U.S. in launching its own war on terror. Even though the U.S. has thus far failed to achieve its goal; spent billions of dollars (even though its nation is crippled with debt), lost thousands of lives, killed even more, it seems that it has set some sort of example for the French government to follow suit, as well as the Canadian government, and others.

Although the threat of terrorism that is painted by the media and government leaders may not be tantamount to the truth, this doesn't mean that there aren't dangerous individuals out there. In reality, there are real people in society who pose a real threat because they disregard the property rights of others and they want to initiate violence against innocent people. However, the government has proven rather ineffective at protecting the public from any such threat, despite their mushrooming surveillance and military efforts. Why is it that after more than a decade, they have not been able to make even the slightest dent in the threat of terrorism? Clearly, the same failed tactic that was initiated more than a decade ago isn't going to work, and current events cry out for a systematic rethinking of the issues of defense, security, as well as the respective roles of government and the market in providing them to society.

The recent Hebdo attack, along with others, has stoked the Islamophobia fire once again around the world, to the point of school children being harassed and targeted, more women being attacked, and various mosques being vandalized. The children, men and women, who are being attacked in this wave of revenge, may be entirely peaceful and law-abiding citizens, but the media has led others in the community to judge and think otherwise. If anything, they have irresponsibly fueled such a small-minded narrative in a nation which is supposed to protect its citizens from religious discrimination and promote otherwise.

As a response to the increased attacks and victimization of Muslims in the UK, shadow home secretary-Yvette Cooper-has proposed a new strategy to re-criminalize hate crimes as an aggravated criminal offense. With the new proposal, people who have been convicted of homophobic, transgender or disability hate crime, would be placed on a “blacklist” to warn any future employers. In a different kind of response effort, social media activists have created the 'Hug A Muslim' campaign which aims to counter Islamophobia. A man stood blindfolded on the street in Canada (a nation also experiencing an increase in Muslim-related hate crime) next to two signs which read “I trust you, do you trust me? give me a hug” and “I am a Muslim, I am labeled as a terrorist.”

There are already laws in place to protect your property and your life, to offer penalty to anyone who violates it, but when we place the actions of terrorists into this illusive category or anti-terror effort, then it becomes a never-ending chase to win a war which in fact cannot be won. For the war on terror essentially aims to rid evil from the world altogether, by using evil actions to achieve that goal; it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. This is why they have not been able to achieve their goal after more than 11 years of trying. The state repeatedly claims that terrorists target us because of our freedoms and values, yet they limit those freedoms and values for citizens as a response to combat any threat of terrorism. This is again why systematic rethinking is necessary, if we want to get different results then we need to use different actions. A terrorist attack is simply a criminal attack and it should be dealt with by the authorities as such, with an independent investigation, collection of evidence, and so on. When you respond to it a different way, with ordained murder, kidnapping, and torture of people (sometimes even innocent ones), then don't be surprised if your actions create more enemies. In the meantime, it would be nice if world leaders and media representatives wouldn't demonize an entire collective made-up of billions of people, in a misguided response over the violent actions of a few.




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