From the Independent - just as the Great War led to the Second, so the world war against al-Qaeda led, via Iraq, to the war against the apocalyptic Isis
"Sometimes, I suspect, the ability of human beings to fool themselves with their own words over the Middle East is greater than the folly of war. One leads to another. I was crossing the Atlantic when the international crimes against humanity took place on 11 September 2001; my plane turned round over the ocean, shedding tons of fuel, before heading back to the safety ofEurope. Safety then, of course. Not now. Before I landed, the third-rate politicians who would lead hundreds of thousands of Arabs – and, comparatively, a few of us – to our deaths in the Middle East had conned us all with their clichés.
The first of these mischievous remarks was that the attacks of 9/11 “had changed the world forever”. Politicians said it, newspaper editorials echoed it, populations repeated this dumb expression by the million. For if we really believed in the “democracy”, “values” and “freedoms” of the West which we suddenly rediscovered, it was our duty to ensure that the murderers of 9/11 did not change our societies. Not now – nor ever.
But there was another expression, which I missed at the time. The US was going to launch, we were told, “a world war against terror”. It’s not the word terror that I failed to spot, a word whose generic, racist use became briefly pardonable after the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, and then more disgusting than ever when it was re-used by Bush, Putin and any tin-pot dictator from the Middle East to Far East Asia to further their policies of brutality across the globe.
No, it was the use of the phrase “world war” which I didn’t notice."
The full article can be read here.