Sunday, December 21, 2014

Whose Terrorist?


The word "terrorist" is everywhere these days. But, Tom Walkom writes, the definition of the word depends as much on domestic considerations as it does on international considerations. And domestic considerations change -- frequently:

Take the most basic question: Who are the terrorists? Until Wednesday, Cuba was listed by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism. Now U.S. President Barack Obama says it is not.

Why? It’s not because Cuba has changed. It’s the same old place. Raul and Fidel Castro are still in charge.

Rather it is because American domestic politics have changed. Now it’s politically useful for Washington to bury the hatchet.
Is Hamas itself terrorist? Canada says yes. The European Union’s second highest court says maybe not. The General Court said the EU used improper methods to place Hamas on its terror list.

And, in the lead up to an election, the word "terrorist" becomes a hot button:

For more absurdities, look at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s air war against the Islamic State.

According to Ottawa, it is part of an epic battle for the future of civilization. Yet in almost 50 days of warfare, Canadian fighter jets have released their bombs only nine times.

In part, this is because the U.S.-led coalition can’t find enough enemies of civilization to bomb.
But in part, it results from the disjunction between the rhetoric surrounding this conflict and a more mundane reality — which is that Harper needs a war to win the next election, but he needs it to be a war with few Canadian casualties.

Last week, both Peter Mackay and Stephen Harper suggested that the murderers of two Canadian soldiers might be connected to ISIS. To date, no evidence of that connection has emerged -- just as those "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq never materialized.

So whose terrorist are we talking about? A real one -- or one manufactured for political gain?


Lorne said...

Fear has always been a potent motivator, Owen, a fact that the Harper regime knows well and ruthlessly exploits to its advantage. Hopefully, there will always be a few journalists who speak the truth without fear of corporate reprisal, one of the main reasons I subscribe to The Star.

Owen Gray said...

Harper is where he is because he has lots of enablers in the press, Lorne.

Those enablers bear some responsibility for the harm he has done.

Scotian said...

The latter of course, duh.

All of Harpers enablers bear some responsibility, not just the media ones, all of them Owen. The media ones just happen to be some of the more powerful in their influence, but if the NDP enablers had instead acted properly they would have made it far harder for the media enablers to do their part without being blatantly obvious to even the most disconnected voter that they were shilling for one side only. This goes back again to my issue with Layton and the NDP leadership, they gave Harper cover from his version of reality, and for his allies in the media and those he has cowed/broken to sell his propaganda as something more credible.

In a more perfect world partisanship would not be placed ahead of the good of the nation, but that is not the world we live in, and one of the main reasons we have the world we do today is the sad reality that the federal NDP have never had anywhere near the support to form a government, yet cannot accept that, and sold out the nation for the one chance of changing that by eliminating their main electoral rival by teaming up with their most serious philosophical/ideological enemy, the Harper CPC. Now that they reached the pinnacle of their ability to win, instead of recognizing that and focusing on the real threat to the nation they are still preferring to try and dream the impossible dream, even if it leaves the nation in literal ruins. If the NDP thinks winning in Canada is hard, imagine how Dippers would feel if in the end this nation breaks up and over time gets absorbed by our American neighbours. Which is thanks to the Harperium far more possible now than it has ever been since before Confederation, and if he gets another government, especially a majority could become even more likely because of how completely the destruction of what fundamentally differentiated us at the governing levels will have been, and the cultural shifting that has been happening under Harper with as you noted those media enablers.

Only in the Harperium would we be having these terrorist fantasies and massive overreactions being seen as acceptable, it is after all what Harper was clearly desiring Canada to act like since 9/11/01, just read old Hansards (while they still exist, I'm actually waiting for when Harper gets Hansard restricted/edited/under his cone of silence/paywall) for evidence of that.

We always understood that one mans terrorist can be another mans freedom fighter, so we used to be careful about how easily we used that word in this nation. Yet another glorious change for the worse brought to us by Harper aka Captain Closet!

Anonymous said...

I see Harper as every bit as hateful as, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini.

Harper calls Russia and Putin evil Communists and then, sells Canada to Communist China with his FIPPA deal.

Harper shoots his mouth off regarding, Putin annexing the Crimea. However, he says nothing about Communist China doing the same. China is menacing and threatening other countries around the globe.China sinks other countries boats and uses water cannon on them. China does out and out atrocities to the people of Tibet. China does atrocities to their own people and to the people of Africa.

Harper knows exactly how much he is hated? His security bill has doubled.

As far as the media? They are no different than, Goebbels propaganda machine and a disgrace to their professions.

Owen Gray said...

Harper has a remarkably selective memory, Anon.

Owen Gray said...

Captain Closet is a particularly apt moniker, Scotian.

Scotian said...


I'm torn at the moment between Captain Closet and the Closet Commando for which pejorative nickname best describes his inexcusable conduct on that day. Normally I do not do nicknames for politicians, but this incident is a exception for me. I might have left it alone if he apologized afterwards and admitted he acted in a moment of human weakness instead of this fictionalization he has been spreading as with Mansbridge, or wasn't trying to campaign as a serious stable trustworthy leader in tough times against the feckless opposition, but this act of physical and moral cowardice is something beyond the pale of acceptability in ANY political leader, let alone a supposed war leader.

If CPCers can use things like "shiny pony", "Justine" "True-dope" and the like for Trudeau, I see no reason not to have a pejorative that actually ACCURATELY describes Harper and his actions at a time of crisis, which is where the true nature of any human being will dominate. We know what that was in Harper now, and it needs remembering, especially if, as it looks likely, Harper plans to use that attack to make the case for his reelection as PM.

Owen Gray said...

It's worth remembering, Scotian, that once the epithet "Lyin' Brian" became common currency, Brian Mulroney was gone.