In the aftermath of September 11th, when the US government was asked to restrain any impulsive retaliation against the Taliban-led Afghanistan, every politician was very aware that the War on Terror was not a conventional war. It is particularly difficult to frame the War on Terror within the old-fashioned, but still attractive, domain ‘war’. We don’t need Hobbes to remind us that wars need states, armies, governments, and, last but not least, diplomats and diplomacy to stop them. We also should consider the problem of how to define ‘terror’. In a strict definition of the word, we can say that War on Terror is a tautology as war inevitably uses terror to force the enemy to surrender. So I can reduce the rhetoric expression ‘War on Terror’ to its basic meaning of “Terror on Terror.” In the aftermath of September 11th and its consequences, Terror on Terror makes more sense indeed.
The enemy here is not a state, though certain states (the variable Axis of Evil) help the “enemy.” Not is the enemy just a single organisation but rather it should be seen as a sort of ideological franchise (which includes advertisement campaigns and recruitment agencies). The enemy has no an organised army to match a state, but mainly heterogenic entrepreneurs united by emotions and feelings rather than flags. In these circumstances, the self proclaimed Axis of Good should recognise that bombs, blood and dismembered bodies, often of innocent civilians, could not have been the ‘final solution.’ From here, a new post-September 11 rhetoric was added; ‘the battle to win hearts and minds’. Then, the forces behind the Terror on Terror campaign clearly saw that it would have been less expensive, economically boosting, and less time consuming just to stop the hearts and smash the minds, preferably when seen as militant Muslims.
The recent tragic and inhuman events in Lebanon are nothing else than the predictable consequence of the Terror on Terror campaign. Israel today is playing a much more important role than defending its soil and seeking the freedom of a few captured soldiers. The unsuccessful post G8 Italian meeting in Rome, with more biscuits, coffees, and expensive dinners than the G8 itself, was organised to reach a ceasefire (or rather to reinforce a very weak Italian Government) but in the end the candid. nothing-on-the-table talk tells us more than what the Bush-Blair couple wished.
The Israeli attack against Hezbollah forces is not, according to the Israeli Prime Minister, a war against Lebanon and its population. The systematic destruction of Lebanon, and the carnage of its civilians are just unfortunate side effects of the Terror on Terror campaign, not unlike the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes and the Kahar’s (just to mention two) have been. Indeed, I tend to agree that this is not a conventional war but the epilogue of the Terror on Terror, the absurdly proposed ‘final solution’ for the Middle East, or at least for a part of it. Yet as any other ‘final solution’, this one can only result in a catastrophe, with thousands of human beings killed on all sides.
The Terror on Terror strategy which the Bush-Blair pair planned (and lost control of) is increasingly blurring into just simple terror, not different from the extremist Islamic groups, just more deadly for those who are designated Arab and Muslim. However, the mindless and heartless planners of the Terror on Terror have completely overestimated their decision to lose the “battle for hearts and minds.” Fear brings violence which brings fear, in a sort of Batesonian schismogenic circle making people feel persecuted and without hope. An increasing number of Muslims have lost all hope, have been terrorised and left with fear and feelings of injustice; they have lost everything but their faith in a desperate terrorised interpretation of Islam. Hence, they now have been left only with one choice: Armageddon.