Law, Language and Terror: Policemen or Soldiers? The Dangers of Misunderstanding the Threat to America (Commentary on 9-11)
Times Literary Supplement (London), September 21, 2001
9 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2006
This article was offered in 2001 as the Times Literary Supplement's main commentary the week following 9-11. The essay argues that 9-11 required war as a response, and challenges views expressed in the days following 9-11 by commentators such as Anne-Marie Slaughter and Michael Ignatieff that the proper response by the United States should be criminal law in nature - either international criminal law, through international tribunals or procedures, or domestic criminal law of the kind pursued in the first 1993 World Trade Center bombing. It further argues against the functional pacifism of many Christian theologians who, while approving of just war principles in theory, never manage to approve any actual war in practice. At the same time, the essay observes that the war on terror declared by President Bush, while comprising one or more particular wars, starting with war to topple the Taleban regime in Afghanistan, is a metaphorical war, akin to the War on Drugs, rather than an actual war. Appearing just a few days after 9-11, this essay makes a case for war as war, for soldiers and not policemen against terror.
Keywords: terrorism, war on terror, terror, September 11, 9-11, World Trade Center, Taleban, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Michael Ignatieff, international tribunals, just war, war, armed conflict, pacifism, functional pacifism
JEL Classification: K10, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation