My sympathy and empathy for those in Paris is not without a certain degree of confusion. I must admit that a “War On” and a “War With” brings certain differences that must be explained and hopefully understood.
We have been engaged for several years in a “War On” drugs and also a “War On” obesity. Both seem to be sliding off the front pages as it would appear, by simple observation, that the battles are being lost. One could include in that group poverty, ignorance and even ethnic fatherhood.
A “War On” something allows the net to be cast far and wide. In addition it allows alliances, at first glance, to be at odds with the ultimate objective. Some would think Al Qaeda but I choose to think fast food munchies after an evening of a legal medically supervised pot party on Denver, Co.
The “War On” terror has all the components of free wheeling, go where you want, ally yourself with whomever and take any action that will play well with the local populis. In addition a “War On” removes any expectation that the other side will respond. After all “War On” has no real defined face until it is expedient to give it one. We even become surprised that “War On” has soldiers or would contemplate retaliation for years of drone warfare, deaths of innocents, the dislodgement of millions of refugees and continual regime changes.
It has never been a “War With” only “On” and that allows it to continue as long as a select group of beneficiaries see the benefit. We can continue to act shocked and appalled at worldwide events as periodically the other side, which does exist, emerges from the shadows to remind us that whether “With” or “On” it is still a strategy that has consequences.
An historical note to consider – Perhaps it was good that the “Colonies” had a “War With” England as opposed to a “War On” or perhaps it would still be going on today.
King George “Everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor and a scoundrel” including that terrorist Samuel Adams.
Samuel Adams “We have proclaimed to the world our determination to die for free men rather than to live slaves” upon hearing gunfire at the Battle of Lexington and the deaths of British soldiers “What a glorious morning for America”
Terror can assume many guises!