Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dear Macleans

Dear Macleans,

Just so you know, the word 'terror' is a word that means intense, overpowering fear. It is a useful word. It is not, however, a synonym for 'terrorism'. Therefore, when you slap a headline on your cover reading: SUDDENLY OTTAWA REALIZES WE HAVE A TERROR PROBLEM, it looks like you're claiming that there are lots of Canadians living with intense, overpowering fear. While that may actually be the case, I suspect that's not what you meant.

I do realize that President Bush likes to refer to his 'war on terror,' but I'd at least like to think you guys have a better grasp of the nuances of the English language than he does. Oh, don't get me wrong, if he ever decides to wage an actual war on terror, I'll be right there on the front lines, but I suspect such a war would be more about the cutting-edge psychological research than it would be about the bombs.



Psychols said...

LOL, good post.

Sometimes I feel intense anxiety when I hear President Bush speak and I'm afraid that I will put my foot through the TV and suffer 20,000 volts through my body. Does that count as terror?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


You know, I think it just might!

Hector said...

Even a war on "terrorism" is conceptually nonsensical. Terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy, nor a movement, nor a cause, nor an ideology. The Americans might as well declare war on night-raids or ambushing. To declare war on a tactic is simply a category error.

However, there seems to be some precedent for could argue that the cold war had elements of a campaign against nuclear armament, which is also a tactic. But I would maintain the effort was against nuclear weapons in general, which are an object against which one could wage war.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


I don't claim to be an expert on military tactics, but from what little I do know, you're exactly spot-on.