On 20 January 2004, George Bush Jr. President of United States gave his last (?) State of Union Address. In this article, I will point out 25 fallacies of speech on war on terror.
Fallacy 1. "By bringing hope to oppressed and delivering justice to violent, [the American servicemen and women] are making America more secure." Apologists of war on terror are quick to point out that there have not been any major attacks on U.S. since September 11, 2001. But what of numerous terror alerts? And how did deadly toxin ricin recently find its way into US Senate for second time! Or did ‘Senator' Ricin, ‘terrorist,' win a re-election into upper house? Does that not show that terrorists still present a clear and present danger? Clearly an early warning signal!
Fallacy 2. "Each day, law enforcement personnel and intelligence officers are tracking terrorist threats; analysts are examining airline passenger lists; men and women of our new Homeland Security Department are patrolling our coasts and borders. And their vigilance is protecting America."
Americans and indeed world should not live under false hope of being protected by intelligence officers. Because terrorists themselves are becoming more creative. Who has ever heard of shoe bombers before?
The U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi exposed this illusion in her speech: "One hundred percent of containers coming into our ports or airports must be inspected. Today, only 3 percent are inspected. One hundred percent of chemical and nuclear plants in United States must have high levels of security. Today, Bush Administration has tolerated a much lower standard. One hundred percent of enriched uranium and other material for weapons of mass destruction must be secured. Today, Administration has refused to commit resources necessary to prevent it from falling into hands of terrorists." In this case, is America protected? If answer is no, what about other countries with less security measures and porous borders?
Fallacy 3. "We have not come all this way, through tragedy, and trials, and war, only to falter and leave our work unfinished." The war on terror is an unfinished business.
In fact, battle has only begun. Commenting on this, New York Times Magazine said that war on terror "is beginning of an epic battle." And to support this, La Repubblica newspaper said: "Today we get feeling that we are living in middle of a tornado, an unparalleled catastrophe." Those are not right words to describe end of a story.
Fallacy 4. "And by our will and courage, this danger must be defeated." That is a very upbeat statement. On 24 July 2003, US Vice-President Dick Cheney also sounded oracular when he said: "One by one, in every corner of world, we will hunt terrorists down and destroy them."
Al-Qaeda has now mutated into multifaceted anonymous groups. And this new phase is more dangerous than former centralized visible organization. Take a warning: Do not go to some radical Muslim country to search for terrorists. Because that your prodigal son, or your estranged husband, or in fact, that distant relative of yours may be a terrorist. A roll call in prison at Guantanamo Bay reveals that even some Americans and Britons—citizens of two nations in forefront of war on terror—have been "Talibanized."
Besides, these groups are becoming more desperate. They have succeeded in their use of surface-to-air missiles (SAMS)—tumbling down military aircrafts at will in Iraq. And make no mistake about it: these cave dwellers may crack a dirty nuke somewhere someday, or unleash a deadly plague. In that case, how would world respond? Detonate a nuclear bomb? So you can see that "we are perilously near a new international anarchy" according to Washington Post. The war on terror, therefore, is not winnable.
Fallacy 5. "And one of these essential tools is Patriot Act, which allows Federal law enforcement to better share information, to track terrorists, to disrupt their cells, and to seize their assets." Terrorism can not be wiped out by legislation. After all, these are man-made laws and man himself is imperfect. There must be loopholes, and terrorists exploit weakness of system. Now, what if they stop living in cells? Or what if they stop keeping their money in banks? Then they would be as elusive as shadows.
Fallacy 6. "We are tracking al-Qaida around world and nearly two-thirds of their known leaders have now been captured or killed. Thousands of very skilled and determined military personnel are on manhunt, going after remaining killers who hide in cities and caves—and, one by one, we will bring terrorists to justice." It is true that most of key terrorist suspects—including Saddam Hussein—have either been arrested or eliminated. But according to Time Magazine, "Lopping off beast's head may not kill body." If Saddam or Osama bin laden are hanged today, more Saddams and Osamas will rise tomorrow. Terrorists want attention. And that is why various groups are eager to claim credit for any attack—even though they are not responsible. In like manner there may be a lord of flies waiting for Saddam and Osama to pass on before taking center stage and bringing his pursuers to ‘justice.'