Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

The inconvenient truth about the war on terrorism

Posted by metaphorical on 19 June 2008

We’re living in a time of inconvenience
Compassion fails me with this
meanness in the air
Our city streets are filled with violence
So we close our doors to the city
And pretend that it’s not there
Here I go again
Back out on these mean streets
The evil seems to cling to the soles of my feet
Cuz’ I’m living in a time of inconvenience
At an inconvenient time

— “Time of Inconvenience,” by Nanci Griffith

How many times must the NY Times be rebuked for misstating the facts about 9/11 and adopting the administration’s lies and misrepresentations? Well, how long are they going to keep doing it? If, after the Times’s endorsement of the war on Iraq, the equation of Iraq and Al Qaeda, the Judith Miller affair, aluminum tubes and all, if the reporters at the NY Times are going to rewrite history yet again, say, last Sunday in a news article about a Supreme Court decision, then they’re going to have to be taken to task yet again.

So it is extraordinary that during the Bush administration’s seven years, nearly all of them a time of war that began on Sept. 11, 2001, the court has been prompted to push back four times. Last week’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush, in which the court ruled that prisoners at Guantánamo Bay have a right to challenge their detentions in the federal courts, marks only the most recent rebuke.


Um, no. The war did not begin on September 11. The war didn’t begin on September 12th. Nor did it last anything like seven years.

The war on Afghanistan began on Oct. 7, 2001 with aerial bombardments. By December 17th, the U.S. had declared victory at Tora Bora and the Afghan war was considered over.

On March 19, 2003, Bush declared war on Iraq. By May 1st, he announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

The war on terrorism, on the other hand, is a war without beginning and without end. It is a war that can justify everything and therefore, as the Supreme Court seems bent on pointing out, nothing.

Certainly, the war on civil liberties has lasted for virtually the entire length of Bush’s rule, a war so cynical in intent and bleak in its view of human nature that even the most conservative court in living memory has rebuked the Administration four times, most recently last week. The Times finds it remarkable that the court keeps standing up to the President in a time of war, and surely it is remarkable. But perhaps one factor is that we’re not exactly at war.

We’re living in the age of communication
Where the only voices heard
have money in their hands
Where greed has become a sophistication
And if you ain’t got money
You ain’t got nothin’ in this land
An’ here I am one lonely woman
On these mean streets
Where the right to life man has become my enemy
Cuz’ I’m living in his time of inconvenience
At an inconvenient time

7 Responses to “The inconvenient truth about the war on terrorism”

  1. ClaireDePlume said

    In this world of ‘super’ communication, the freedom of speech becomes it’s own worst enemy and in it’s multitude of voices obscures the truth, conveniently or not. How shall we remember the truth, which truth shall we remember, and just as importantly, how shall we govern ourselves?

    The media reports that which is convenient – convenient to promote an “invisible?” agenda that some can only theorize what, when, where and why. Who benefits?

    For some, conspiracy theorists and their frightening prognostications abound in these inconveniently dispassionate times. Some close their doors and hide from the fray. Still some carry on as though there’s nothing amiss. And on, and on, and on…. Perhaps only the Captains and The Kings know for sure.

    9/11 was the first time since Pearl Harbor that these shores were attacked. For the United States, the alarm on that morning of attack woke the war cry.

    While war on terrorism was not declared at shortly after 9 a.m. nor the days of grief which followed, life changed irrevocably on that agonizingly long day. For some, the sun has still not yet set on those events, and may not for many sunrises. And the real identity of the terrorists and the terror we’ve been spoon fed remains veiled in superfluously twisted communication and dubious “facts”.

    A poem learned in grade school by Mr. Kipling echoes in my mind.

    “If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;…”

    If we buy into the spin, we will loose our equilibrium and be tossed into a maelstrom of lies and hatred. Shall we? Or shall we not? If…

  2. digglahhh said

    That crazy old liberal NYT at it again… How far to the right must your political compass be calibrated to consider any mainstream news source “liberal?”

  3. Thinking said

    The New York Slimes is what it is-crap!

  4. ClaireDePlume said

    Leaning too far to the right causes too much toppling. Screws up the calibrations.

  5. Thinking said

    You are correct. We must keep a steady course.Full speed ahead!

  6. TEST said

    Smooth talking politicians w/o accountabilty, our servicement dying because of 9/11 justifications, and you’re getting surveilled by Telecoms who have no worry about ever being prosecuted for civil liberties infractions. Right. Notice the word “justification.” Everything is contingent upon the 9/11 story. Therefore, a hell of a lot of attention MUST be dedicated to ‘getting it right.’ We cannot rely on a government to tell us ‘how it is.’ We live in a totalitarian oligarchy. As the Patriot Act is debunked, HR 6304 is speedily passed.

  7. Thinking said

    Test, check the Times’s correction page on the web every day. Hardly a day goes by when there’s not a correction on the page of some factual error which, in its original presentation, was unflattering to the Bush administration.
    Not that I am enamoured with the President, but it is not a fair newspaper to the facts.

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