War on Terrorism

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The War on Terrorism, the War Against Terror, or War on Terror is an umbrella term used by the Bush administration to refer to the various military, political, and legal actions taken to curb the spread of terrorism.

See also: terrorism, September 11 attacks

Quotes[edit]

This war on terrorism is going to take a while. ~ George W. Bush
  • The so called war against terrorism is in fact a war between two fanaticisms. One is theocratic, the other positivist and secular. One is the fervent belief of a defensive minority, the other the unquestioned assumption of an amorphous , confident elite. One sets out to kill, the other plunders, leaves and lets die. One is strict and the other lax. One brooks no argument, the other 'communicates and tries to spin into every corner of the world. One claims the right to spill innocent blood, the other to sell the earth's entire water.
Outrageous to compare them.”
  • John Berger, 'Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance', Verso.
  • Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.
  • Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.
  • What we have found in Afghanistan confirms that, far from ending there, our war against terror is only beginning... tens of thousands of trained terrorists are still at large. These enemies view the entire world as a battlefield, and we must pursue them wherever they are. So long as training camps operate, so long as nations harbor terrorists, freedom is at risk. And America and our allies must not, and will not, allow it....Our military has put the terror training camps of Afghanistan out of business, yet camps still exist in at least a dozen countries. A terrorist underworld — including groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-i-Mohammed — operates in remote jungles and deserts, and hides in the centers of large cities....But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will.
  • The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to — to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.... The — this country is safer than it was prior to 9/11. We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously we're still not completely safe, because there are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in. It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America.
  • The war we fight today is more than a military conflict; it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. On one side are those who believe in the values of freedom and moderation – the right of all people to speak, and worship, and live in liberty. And on the other side are those driven by the values of tyranny and extremism; the right of a self-appointed few to impose their fanatical views on all the rest. As veterans, you have seen this kind of enemy before. They're successors to Fascists, to Nazis, to Communists, and other totalitarians of the 20th century. And history shows what the outcome will be: This war will be difficult; this war will be long; and this war will end in the defeat of the terrorists and totalitarians, and a victory for the cause of freedom and liberty.
  • In order to win this war, we need to understand that the terrorists and extremists are opportunists. They will grab onto any cause to incite hatred and to justify the killing of innocent men, women and children. If we weren't in Iraq, they would be using our relationship and friendship with Israel as a reason to recruit, or the Crusades, or cartoons as a reason to commit murder. They recruit based upon lies and excuses. And they murder because of their raw desire for power. They hope to impose their dominion over the broader Middle East and establish a radical Islamic empire where millions are ruled according to their hateful ideology. We know this because al-Qaeda has told us. The terrorist Zawahiri, number two man in the al-Qaeda team, al-Qaeda network, he said, we'll proceed with several incremental goals. The first stage is to expel the Americans from Iraq; the second stage is to establish an Islamic authority, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of caliphate; the third stage, extend the jihad wave to secular countries neighboring Iraq; and the fourth stage, the clash with Israel. This is the words of the enemy. The President of the United States and the Congress must listen carefully to what the enemy says in order to be able to protect you. It makes sense for us to take their words seriously if our most important job is the security of the United States. Mister Zawahiri has laid out their plan. That's why they attacked us on September the 11th. That's why they fight us in Iraq today. And that is why they must be defeated.
  • There are some Arabs who think that the Germans did the right thing by the Jews. This makes it easy to recruit Arab terrorist.
    • John le Carré, interview with Ramona Koval. The Book Show, Australian Broadcasting Commission Radio National. (19 November 2008)
  • There is a big difference between fighting the cold war and fighting radical Islam. The rules have changed and we haven't.
    • John le Carré, interview with Ramona Koval. The Book Show, Australian Broadcasting Commission Radio National. (19 November 2008)
  • We were not faced (in the cold war) in a conflict with people who are prepared to die for their cause. We weren't in conflict with people whose idea is to kill as many as they could.
    • John le Carré, interview with Ramona Koval. The Book Show, Australian Broadcasting Commission Radio National. (19 November 2008)
  • In the war on terror we did everything wrong that we could have done.
    • John le Carré, interview with Ramona Koval. The Book Show, Australian Broadcasting Commission Radio National. (19 November 2008)
  • You can't make war against terror. Terror is a technique of battle. It's a tactic that has been employed since time immemorial. You can conduct clandestine action against terrorists, and that must be done.
    • John le Carré, interview with Ramona Koval. The Book Show, Australian Broadcasting Commission Radio National. (19 November 2008)
  • To operate an intelligence network against the Islamist terror is terribly difficult because they don't have a central command and control center such as we would understand. Therefore you cannot penetrate at the top and find out what will happen on the ground.
    • John le Carré, interview with Ramona Koval. The Book Show, Australian Broadcasting Commission Radio National. (19 November 2008)
  • Because we are so unfamiliar with the motivation of the people we are dealing with, we are more afraid of them than we need to be.
    • John le Carré, interview with Ramona Koval. The Book Show, Australian Broadcasting Commission Radio National. (19 November 2008)
  • On one hand we go like hell for every terror cell we can find, we penetrate it, we destroy it. On the other hand, there is a much bigger need for a political solution.
    • John le Carré, interview with Ramona Koval. The Book Show, Australian Broadcasting Commission Radio National. (19 November 2008)
  • Wanton killing of innocent civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism.
  • Ludicrous concepts…like the whole idea of a "war on terrorism". You can wage war against another country, or on a national group within your own country, but you can't wage war on an abstract noun. How do you know when you've won? When you've got it removed from the Oxford English Dictionary?
  • You know, terror is an idea. You don’t fight an idea with a conventional Army. To win a war on terror you have to win the hearts and minds of people from whom, from where the terrorists are operating from. If you win their hearts and mind and get them on your side, you’ll win the war. If those people start regarding the terrorists as freedom fighters, history has told us that you can’t win the war.
  • I’ll give you an example of (George Bush's) war on terror. He’s spent something like almost a trillion dollars. The estimates are that anything up to a million people have died and has he made the world a safer place? In my opinion he’s made the world a far more dangerous place. These are now nurseries for future terrorists.
  • Conflicts do not arise out of the blue. The occur as a result of causes and conditions, many of which are within the antagonists’ control. This is where leadership is important. Terrorism cannot be overcome by the use of force because it does not address the underlying problems. In fact the use of force may not only fail to solve the problems, it may exacerbate them, and frequently leaves destruction and suffering in its wake.
  • In tracking down and eliminating terrorists, we need to change our metaphor from a "war on terror"—exactly what, pray tell, is that?—to the mind-set of Interpol tracking down master criminals through intense global cooperation among nations, or the FBI stalking the Mafia, or local police determined to quell street gangs without leveling the entire neighborhood in the process.
    • Bill Moyers, "The Meaning of Freedom", Sol Feinstone Lecture at the United States Military Academy, 15 November 2006, Moyers on Democracy (2008), p. 78
  • President Bush has consistently argued that Iraq is the central front in the War on Terror. Al Qaeda leaders describe it the same way, which is why they are trying to use murder and mayhem to provoke sectarian violence, foment chaos, and create a safe haven for terror. Defeating al Qaeda has been central to our new strategy in Iraq from day one and will continue to be.
  • All actions have consequences, and all nations, like individuals are ultimately held accountable for their actions. I felt that waging war in Iraq would have the consequence of harming America, not making it safer, both in the short and long term.
    • Ann Wright, American diplomat who resigned her post in 2003 in protest, in an article for Peace and Policy, vol. 9, journal of Toda Institute, www.toda.org

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