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The 'Real Counterterrorism' Challenge 10.14.06

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Dear MP Network,

These days President Bush is out on the hustings accusing Democrats of taking a 'law enforcement' approach to terrorism—and by that he means just waiting until after the crime has been committed to do anything. Finding a sound bite (and the program it evokes) that can replace the whole 'War on terror' approach is vital to everyone's future now.

Although I'm making the suggestion 'real counterterrorism,' (based on preventive action suggestions found in the September MP Post entitled '9/11: What To Say Now,' which is repeated below for your convenience), finding the right language to convey all of that fast must be a community project to succeed. Crafting the best phrase is a challenge all of us need to take up now. I've included some other sound bite raw material below, plus some I collected from recent East Coast MP workshops.

The right sound bite should convey the full range of what the crime prevention/counterterrorism metaphors imply and also be muscular sounding enough to graft some of the unifying adrenaline of the 'war' metaphor onto language that evokes more effective methods.

Send me your ideas and I'll report back soon. Below my signature line in the next paragraph are: some starter suggestions for you to tweak or replace with your own, some background sources, and the Sept. MP Post repeated.

If you like what The Metaphor Project is doing pro bono online, please send your tax-deductible contribution to The Metaphor Project, P.O. Box 892, Orinda, CA 94563. metaphorproject@earthlink.net


Real counterterrorism succeeds.
Real counterterrorism wins.
Real counterterrorism is a winner.
Real counterterrorism works better.
Real counterterrorism is smart.
Real counterterrorism is more powerful.
Real counterterrorism has more power.
Real counterterrorism means real power.
Real counterterrorism builds the rule of law.
Real counterterrorism builds community.
Real counterterrorism builds the peace.
Real counterterrorism protects human rights.
Real counterterrorism builds a winning team.
real counterterrorism is/includes/active verb. . .
true counterterrorism ' '
a multi-pronged counterterrorism campaign is/includes/active verb. . .
a multi-faceted ' ' ' '
real counterterrorism begins at home
' ' means cooperation
' ' ' teamwork
We need a real counterterror campaign.
. . .a full counterterror campaign...
. . .a true counterterror campaign. . .
. . .a comprehensive counterterror campaign. . .
. . .a successful counterterror campaign. . .

SOME OTHER SOURCES: It might be valuable to check some of these for more background. A very important article in the Washington Monthly for September, 2006 on James Baker's congressionally mandated, highly secret, bipartisan 'Iraq Study Group,' by Robert Dreyfuss, entitled 'A Higher Power.'


Update: Today, October 14, Evan Derkacz reports on Alternet's PEEK (url) that news of this commission's conclusions have leaked, reported by the conservative New York Sun. The commission, says The Sun, has 'ruled out the prospect of victory for America [in Iraq>' as well as for a viable democracy there. The commission is proposing a plan called 'Redeploy and Contain,' but its results will not be formally released until after the election. So we can't wait.

More: relevant and reported today is this year's Nobel Peace Prize going to Muhammad Yunus, microcredit loan pioneer. This choice sends a powerful message to the whole world that peace grows when poverty shrinks. Preventing the spread of poverty is a vital part of 'real counterrorism.'

2. Almost all of the 9.11.06 issue of The New Yorker, for vital pieces on the ferment in modern Islamic ideas, Islamic terrorists, and effective intel gathering.


3.George Lakoff and Evan Frisch's article, Five Years After 9.11: Drop the War Metaphor, 9.11.06, on Alternet and also The Rockridge Institute web site:


4. John Kerry's 9.09.06 speech: Real Security for Americans: www.johnkerry.com

5. George Soros' piece, 'A Self-Defeating War,' in the Wall Street Journal of.8.15.06.


6. U.S. Department of State Web site: National Strategy for Combating Terrorism:



MP Post> 9/11: What To Say Now

Dear MP Network,

What follows is long, but it is the big subject. You can skim it by checking the 'all caps lines.' If you like what The Metaphor Project is doing pro bono online, please send a tax-deductible contribution to us at P.O. 892, Orinda, CA 94563.

TO SUBSCRIBE, if you are not already a member of the MP Network, please reply to this message instead of using the MP Site subscribe button, until further notice.


Susan C. Strong, Ph.D.
Founder and Executive Director
The Metaphor Project
9/11: What To Say Now

Five years ago, right after 9/11, I sent out a Metaphor Project post entitled 'U.S. MORAL INTEGRITY DEMANDS CRIME METAPHOR, NOT WAR.' Two failed U.S. wars later, now more than ever, WE NEED BETTER, MORE SUCCESSFUL IDEAS ABOUT HOW TO COUNTER TERRORISM, not the 'Islamofascism' WAR CON Bush is trying to pull. Making full scale war in response to terrorist acts falls right into THE TERRORISTS' TRAP. They seek this response, because they know modern state warfare produces more unjust injury to more people than terrorism does. INSULTING A WHOLE RELIGION AND PEOPLE by lumping them in together with SMALL GANGS OF MEGALOMANIAC MURDERERS makes enemies where we should be working to make new friends. The only conceivable reason leaders in their right mind would make OBVIOUS MISTAKES like these is that they profit from the resulting outrage and from making war.

Five years later, TERRORISM IS STILL JUST CRIME, NOT WAR. Calling it crime means BEING TOUGH ON CRIME, not 'appeasing' anybody. Calling it 'war' gives it too much dignity. Killing innocent men, women, and children who have done no harm to the terrorists is nothing but COLD-BLOODED MURDER. It should have the effect of discrediting any lofty goals the terrorists use to rationalize their actions. If they are the only ones murdering civilians in cold blood, they will lose ground on today's world media stage, as well as on their home turf.

Murderers need to be caught, tried, and penalized, if found guilty. If they are being protected by unfriendly countries, international police work and cooperation is required and is THE ONLY THING THAT WORKS. Diplomacy, negotiation, and political persuasion must be used to increase cooperation. But all this is after the fact.

What matters even more is TERRORIST CRIME PREVENTION. As Nicholas Kristof pointed out in his recent July 23rd New York Times op ed, the British and the Spaniards have SUCCEEDED IN REDUCING HOMEGROWN TERRORISM BY BEING SMART. Moreover, the British foiled the most recent international terrorist airliner plot by using the nonviolent COMMUNITY POLICING model of prevention described in detail in the New York Times Magazine of June 25th, 'Counterterrorism in the U.K; After Londonistan.'

Community police make friends with people in the neighborhood and encourage community members to act in the best interests of everyone. Even in hostage crises, responsible police avoid killing innocent people in order to free hostages.

BUT THE CRIME MODEL ITSELF ONLY APPLIES AFTER TROUBLE HAS STARTED. Terrorism is often described using disease metaphors as well—it's a virus, or it's a cancer, metastasizing through whole populations. TODAY BOTH TERRORISM AND MODERN STATE WARFARE ARE DEADLY SOCIAL PLAGUES OF EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS. THEY WILL BOTH KILL US, NOT CURE US. It's time for PREVENTIVE MEDICINE too, not just crime prevention.

For an inspiring look at how to apply COUNTEREPIDEMIC thinking to the problem of terrorism, see the report, 'Rethinking the War on Terror,' pp. 10-11, in PeaceWatch, April/May, 2006, Vol.XII, #2, the journal of The United States Institute of Peace, downloadable at www.usip.org . Some samples: 'IMMUNIZE (protect) the most susceptible by means of an ANTIDOTE,' and 'REMEDY THE KEY ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS that foster the spread.' Modern public health professionals have succeeded in stopping most of the world's deadly plagues. We can and must learn a lot from them about HOW TO STEM TERRORISM'S 'SOCIAL CONTAGION.'