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Writing the War on Terrorism: Language, Politics and Counter-Terrorism (New Approaches to Conflict Analysis) [Paperback]

Richard Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Sep 2012 New Approaches to Conflict Analysis
'Writing the war on terrorism' examines the public language of the war on terrorism, and the way that rhetoric has been used to justify the global counter-terrorism offensive as a response to 9/11. It discusses how language has been used to deliberately manipulate public anxiety about terrorist threats to gain support for military action, and how the abuse of Iraqi prisoners has been normalised through rhetoric and practice. . It explains how the war on terrorism has been reproduced and amplified by key social actors and how it has become the dominant political narrative in America today, enjoying widespread bipartisan and popular support. The author argues that the normalisation and institutionalisation of the administration's current counter-terrorism approach is damaging to society's ethical values and to democratic political participation. Lying at the intersection of international relations, American politics, terrorism studies, discourse analysis, communication studies and cultural studies, this book will have genuine interdisciplinary appeal.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press (3 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719071216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719071218
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 17.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 429,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Richard Jackson is Reader in International Politics at the University of Aberystwyth

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will change how you look at things for ever! 8 Dec 2008
Richard Jackson has come up with a brilliant book which delves into the official language of the 'war on terrorism'. He uses the commas around the phrase as he believes it has been normalised; that the things governments try and tell us have been too readily accepted.

He makes you think in a critical manner; there will be numerous occasions where you'll find your self nodding your head thinking 'the guy has a point'. Forever after you'll read and listen differently in regards to terrorism-related material. Jackson asks several posing questions, such as why we are so petrified of something that is as likely to kill us as a DIY accident or bee sting!

If you don't want to be taken in by what you are told, and would like to think you can form your own opinions on issues, then you must take a look at this book!
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Richard has analytically analysed and conceptualised the power of language and propaganda that have been used in creating the 'exaggerated threat of terrorism' and, as a result, originate the war on terror as a tool to counter the self-creating threat. Great book!
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an enlightening book, you must read it! 8 Dec 2008
By Mr. M. Y. Almodhahkah - Published on Amazon.com
I reviewed this book on Amazon.co.uk but felt compelled to write on the main site too. The only review of this book so far is clouded by the reviewer's opinion that the book author is anti-American, which is not the case. The author simply provides the reader with a captivating account of how powerful words and language can be, how we (the public) can easily believe certain things if they are repeated enough times by enough people. It is not solely an American trait for leaders to spin things in certain ways, this has happened from the beginning of time, the world across. Jackson simply makes us aware of the science of critical discourse analysis and applies it to the most interesting contemporary issue, which is terrorism and the 'war on terror'.

Jackson makes a point of writing 11th September 2001 as opposed to 9-11, as using the term 9-11 makes the events lose their specific history and context, what he argues is a deliberate ploy by the Bush administration and the media.

Give the book a try, but please never give up on a book simply because it hits a nerve with you!
6 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mildly Interesting, Wildly Anti-American 18 Oct 2005
By John K - Published on Amazon.com
I have mixed feelings about this book. Because of my love of language, writing, and the study of terrorism, I bought and read this study of these topics. Richard Jackson is clearly correct when he states that there is almost no work being done in this area and he has tackled the issue quite well. The analysis in the book is professional and relatively interesting. However, he inextricably intertwines his study with his rampantly anti-American politics. As I made my way through his work, I found myself writing tons of notes about all the misrepresentations and inaccuracies that I came across, preparing to write a coherent response to his mistaken views about America, American policies, the international situation, and modern terrorism. Eventually, I gave up. Realizing that there would be no point to doing all this work, I simply gritted my teeth and tried to learn what I could from Jackson's book while attempting to ignore his nauseating political ideology.

I will admit, not even grudgingly, that the author is an intelligent academic and fine writer with substantial analytic ability. He has a number of good points and a few reasonable arguments as well. How language has played a role in the political discourse during the early and formative years of the War on Terrorism is, without doubt, a remarkable and essential subject area.

On the flipside, I wish the author had not tailored his arguments to repeatedly defame my nation, its policies, and the overall War on Terrorism. Instances of his anti-American ideology, common in Europe, are RAMPANT. It would be impossible and not worth my time to comprehensively refute each of these irritating assumptions and slanted arguments. A study which simply contained these sentiments would have been acceptable, but I really feel that Jackson allowed these ideas and perceptions to co-opt his analysis, at numerous points, and drive his overall arguments throughout the book. I found this disappointing.

If you hate America, you will obviously have no problem with this work, unless you also hate inaccuracy and incomplete portrayals of past and present events. As stated, there is also some astute analysis, but to realize it you must be able to put up with the author's political biases. I will briefly outline a few examples to illustrate my point:

1) His main thesis: the War on Terrorism is a political discourse constructed through carefully chosen language.

Jackson does not realize that, in fact, a major effort to combat terrorism and protect America was and is DEMANDED by the majority of the public. The War on Terrorism is not simply a deft construction of language used by the neo-con elites to manipulate the masses and pursue violent policies.

Another argument...
2) The characterization of the attacks on September 11, 2001 as an "act of war" was established through carefully selected language and used to justify a military response and normalize the violence resulting from it.

I find it hard to imagine that a professor of international security would not know that Osama bin Laden and his organization openly DECLARED WAR ON AMERICA in a 1996 document entitled, fittingly, "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places" and again in 1998, for good measure.

3) He also refuses to refer to the War on Terrorism without quotes, ever...

"Quotation marks around the designation 'war on terrorism' have been employed throughout the book to indicate its special and artificial quality; I did not want to contribute to its normalisation by leaving it undistinguished in the text." (Jackson 7)

This is just stupid and petty.

And so is this...
4) He always refers to the events of that day as "the attacks of September 11, 2001," always...

"Such practices [referring to it as September 11 or 9-11] are neither natural or without consequences; rather, the effect is to erase the history and context of the events and turn their representation into a cultural-political icon where the meaning of the date becomes both assumed and open to manipulation." (Jackson 7)

I could go on for a long while with this stuff... but I don't feel like it. You get the idea.

Buy the book, read the book, whatever. I don't care.
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