As media images of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York were transmitted instantaneously across the globe, it appeared to underscore the notion that ‘international terrorism’ was the greatest single threat to democracy and civilization. The ensuing ‘war’ against what George W. Bush referred to as ‘the axis of evil’ would constitute a ‘global crusade’ against ‘terrorism’. In the USA and Britain, policymakers argued that a military response was not only a moral imperative but could, as Vice-President Dick Cheney cautioned, last indefinitely (Milne, 2001). Given the magnitude of what had immediately preceded these comments, it was widely assumed, not only that such a response was legitimate, but that everyone knew precisely what ‘terrorism’ amounted to. Indeed, in the context of the vivid images of destruction in New York, it appeared insensitive (if not absurd) to request any kind of definitional clarification. As Conor Gearty pointed out (prior to the tragic events of September 2001): the description of certain violence as ‘terrorist’ is now something that we take so much for granted that the word has rooted itself in our psyche, bringing with it all those intense anxieties about sudden and arbitrary violence with which as a society we have become pre-occupied (Gearty, 1997: 2).
|Title of host publication||Criminal Visions|
|Subtitle of host publication||Media Representations of Crime and Justice|
|Number of pages||23|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sept 2003|