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By Suman Gupta

A tremendous volume of media area has been dedicated to the catastrophic terrorist assaults in manhattan and Washington. George Bush was once quickly to claim a 'war on terrorism' that could engulf many nations as well as Afghanistan. yet what does this say approximately Western perceptions of violence -- what does 'war on terrorism' mean?This e-book doesn't try to clarify the momentous occasions of September eleventh 2001. in its place it makes an attempt to sharpen our knowing of what words resembling 'international terrorism' and 'the conflict opposed to terror' have come to intend due to the fact that that date. taking up the problems from a philosophical point of view, Gupta observes that it has lengthy been tough to outline what constitutes a 'terrorist act'. He explains how the occasions of final yr have jolted even latest understandings in unforeseen methods and, importantly, why this hassle of definition persists. analyzing how acts of terrorism and counter-terrorist measures are portrayed within the Western media and the effect this has on public conception, this considerate and provocative account offers a fresh counterpoint to the sensationalised and sometimes over-simplified reporting within the mainstream media.

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Sample text

What slips through is precisely that which is assumed to begin with and understood as revealed at the end: what is war? Recent discussions of warfare do not seem to feel that that question needs to be addressed in a headlong fashion: they start with the attitude that this is known already and can be discussed, and end with the conviction that it has been discussed and is therefore known now. But the question does need to be addressed because in fact neither a discussion of procedural considerations nor of relevant ethical issues quite tell us what war is.

Equivalence could also perhaps be a matter of determination and popular support between otherwise unevenly matched opponents. By equivalence here, in fact, I gesture towards that which allows two warring sides to begin their engagement with each other with what Clausewitz calls ‘living force’. Otherwise there would be defeat before war, like a massacre or an occupation without repercussions. So here’s a slightly modified, and it seems to me serviceable, answer to that question, what is war? – war is defined at the initial point when two large-scale alignments (however or in whatever terms ‘large’ may be understood, certainly ‘large’ in terms of involving and affecting more than an individual or even a few individuals), which are characterised by some principle of equivalence, actively engage with each other, each with the definite intention of overcoming or subduing the other by force.

Ethical considerations of war starting from actual or hypothetical situations generally assume that the agents involved in warfare are value free (there are two actors in conflict irrespective of who is justified and who isn’t, and the end has to be victory for one or the other irrespective of which party is considered more worthy) and focus on the condition of the conflict 32 The Replication of Violence and the assumption of value-free opponents. Such arguments from actual or hypothetical situations naturally depend on utilitarian considerations, and try to prescribe symmetries that would make the adversaries in question fairly matched and also to prescribe the constraints on means at their disposal that would make the victory of one or the other possible and justifiable.

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