Belmont Club

Rebranding

The Washington Times describes “a new way of seeing” a certain something, the word for which is no longer used officially.

It’s official. The U.S. is no longer engaged in a “war on terrorism.” Neither is it fighting “jihadists” or in a “global war.” … “The President does not describe this as a ‘war on terrorism,'” said John Brennan, head of the White House homeland security office, who outlined a “new way of seeing” the fight against terrorism. The only terminology that Mr. Brennan said the administration is using is that the U.S. is “at war with al Qaeda.” …

As for the “war on terrorism,” Mr. Brennan said the administration is not going to say that “because ‘terrorism’ is but a tactic — a means to an end, which in al Qaedas case is global domination by an Islamic caliphate.” … While Mr. Brennan acknowledged that al Qaeda and its affiliates are active in countries throughout the Middle East and Africa, he also said that “portraying this as a ‘global’ war risks reinforcing the very image that al Qaeda seeks to project of itself — that it is a highly organized, global entity capable of replacing sovereign nations with a global caliphate.” …

But Mr. Brennan lamented “inflammatory rhetoric, hyperbole, and intellectual narrowness” surrounding the national security debate and said Mr. Obama has views that are “nuanced, not simplistic; practical, not ideological.”

I think Mr. Brennan is mistaken in that last assertion. The President’s views aren’t ‘nuanced’, but ‘obtuse’, which the dictionary defines as “lacking sharpness or quickness of sensibility or intellect … difficult to comprehend : not clear or precise in thought or expression.” President Obama’s choice of words leave the listener completely the dark about what events in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East are all about. To all intents and appearances, there are military units in those places doing something, fighting someone — and it is not always al-Qaeda. Iran for example, is also opposed to al-Qaeda, yet it is is also attacking US and Western interests. ‘Nuance’ is not a synonym for fuzzy.

The British Home Office — which recently barred Michael Savage from traveling to the UK on the grounds that he was something — has made similarly poor choice of words in describing its new “family intervention program”, which sounds an awful lot like the way General Templar used to fight terrorists — back when they existed — during the Malayan emergency. On its website, the Home Office describes its plans for dealing with troublesome families:

In some communities there are a small number of highly problematic families that account for a disproportionate amount of anti-social behaviour. They are well known to many service providers and enforcement agencies. Some families have up to twenty different organisations involved with them. … despite months and years of intervention from agencies, they continue to damage themselves, their children and the community around them. …

Family intervention projects work to turn around the behaviour of families and reduce their impact on their community. … There are three distinct levels of interventions which are used according to a family’s needs and the impact their behaviour is having on the community. Different levels of intervention may be used at different times as circumstances and behaviour change.

Most projects provide an outreach service for families who are responsible for anti-social behaviour in their home, and who are risk of being evicted. However, services can also be provided in units managed by the family intervention project but dispersed in the community.

At the most intensive level, families who require supervision and support on a 24 hour basis stay in a core residential unit. Upon satisfactory completion of a programme, the family can move into a managed property.

This sounds an awful lot like the prison system, although perhaps I should use the word “corrections”. Despite the vast increase in our technical power to communicate, much of the message has been distorted, even debased by the use of misleading and dishonest terms. A society in which there are warlike activities without a war; enemies without a conflict; open-air prisons without convictions; and a program of informers in the name of “honest debate” is a potentially dangerous one. No, scratch that. It is a community in which hope is changed from cash for clunkers to clunkers for cash.


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