by John Hawkins | December 11, 2006 7:03 am
I’m not sure if this story is less flattering to the British Government or to Muslims:
“Cabinet ministers have been told by the Foreign Office to drop the phrase ‘war on terror’ and other terms seen as liable to anger British Muslims and increase tensions more broadly in the Islamic world.
The shift marks a turning point in British political thinking about the strategy against extremism and underlines the growing gulf between the British and American approaches to the continuing problem of radical Islamic militancy. It comes amid increasingly evident disagreements between President George Bush and Tony Blair over policy in the Middle East.
…A Foreign Office spokesman said the government wanted to ‘avoid reinforcing and giving succour to the terrorists’ narrative by using language that, taken out of context, could be counter-productive’. The same message has been sent to British diplomats and official spokespeople around the world.
‘We tend to emphasise upholding shared values as a means to counter terrorists,’ he added.
Many senior British politicians and counter-terrorism specialists have always been uneasy with the term ‘the war on terror’, coined by the White House in the week following the 9/11 attacks, arguing that the term risked inflaming opinions worldwide. Other critics said that it was too ‘military’ and did not adequately describe the nature of the diverse efforts made to counter the new threat.”
How can the Brits continue to fight a “war on terror,” if they’re afraid to even call it by its name? They can’t. The reality is that the Brits of old are fading away and being replaced with people who have more in common with Spain or Italy than they do with their cousins across the pond. That’s part of the reason that I think our “special relationship” with the Brits probably won’t last much longer than Tony Blair’s time in office.
Additionally, what does it say about Muslims if the phrase, “war on terror,” is upsetting to them? That they’re sympathetic to terrorists perhaps? Would you want to fly on a plane with a Muslim who was “anger(ed)” by the idea of a “war on terror?”
PS: Let me interpret this bit of “diplomateese” for you:
‘We tend to emphasise upholding shared values as a means to counter terrorists,’ translates to we’d rather keep our heads down and hope that the crocodiles eat us last.
That’s quite a come down for a people who Winston Churchill once famously remarked were not made of “sugar candy.”
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