By Mathias DeloriAbstract:
The Global War on Terror has killed or harmed far more innocent people than “terrorism” over the last twenty years. This observation has led some critical scholars to reverse the mainstream question on political violence. Instead of asking how and why some people become “terrorists”, they analyse how the violence of the Global War on Terror has been produced and reproduced. This article contributes to this critical scholarship by investigating two cases: first, the “enhanced interrogation” policy implemented by the Bush administration and, second, French aerial bombings in Afghanistan and Mali. Despite their numerous differences, these warlike counter-”terrorist” practices have one thing in common: their partisans and operatives tend to fetishize the question of intentionality. They claim that counter-”terrorism” remains more moral than “terrorism”—regardless of the aforementioned death toll—because counter-”terrorist” forces do not specifically intend to kill or harm innocent people. I analyse this claim as a “frame of war” in Judith Butler’s sense – i.e. as a regime of knowledge which normalizes a particular violence -, and I document its social construction.
Political Anthropological Research on International Social Sciences (PARISS) 3 (1), 2022