On 9/11 and the War on "Terror": Names, Numbers and Events

Categories and names are often misleading, even for those of us who are often wary of the dominant rhetoric. As much as we want to escape it, dominant discourse is only there to shape our ideas and reactions, as is the case of the rhetoric surrounding 9/11; of good and evil, of war, liberation, and of spreading democracy.   Here, we write to challenge these slogans and policies hoping that one day they will go away.

Hunting the “Out-of-Place Muslim”

The Global War on Terror’s fixation on al-Qa‘ida as a roving band of "foreign fighters" allows the U.S. to claim that it is not fighting a war on Islam, but rather helping local Muslim populations rid themselves of narrow-minded interlopers  seeking to impose a puritanical brand of the religion.  This hunt for foreign fighters animates broader attempts to monitor and control Muslim diasporas outside the "west."  At the same time, the legal impunity of other foreign fighters – namely, U.S. forces and their contractors – is pushed into the background.

On the Erasure of Violence and the Violence of Erasure

I have just characterized the killing of our lifetime’s Public Enemy Number 1, as an act of violence. The association is disconcerting. It does not readily compute. But what else does one call an act that requires the raiding of a home, and the shooting of an unarmed man, and others, until they are dead?

From Kabul to Kanda

Afghan Refugees Struggle for Justice in Japan

The Audacity of Empire

If there is one unmistakable difference between Bush's wars and Obama's wars it boils down to this: we now have a president who can almost perfectly pronounce the names of the cities and villages US troops will occupy and bomb.

Adapted from a talk at a conference titled "Obama's Occupations" held at Pomona College, December 4, 2009.

Syndicate content