Saturday, September 20, 2003

The Trouble with Metaphors

Calpundit wonders if Wesley Clark is irresponsibly suggesting we should invade Egypt when he says the following:

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and to a lesser extent, Egypt, those are the central fronts in the war on terror.

This really highlights the problem of even calling it "the war and terror," combined with the conflation of an actual war - the invasion of Iraq - with the "war on terror." Like the "war on drugs" it's just a metaphor. However, unlike the "war on drugs," it's a hideously horribly bad one (As opposed to a just basically bad one). "War on terror" is a metaphor for a global police and intelligence operation, backed up with the usual diplomatic carrots and sticks that these things need. So, no one should think that Clark is suggesting we invade Egypt or Pakistan when we use that language, but of course they might now that we've pretended the Iraq invasion and the operation to minimize global terrorism are one and the same.