From Fri Jul 2 13:15:10 2004
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 13:38:54 -0500 (CDT)
From: “IRC Communications” <>
Organization: Interhemispheric Resource Center
Subject: FPIF News | Risk-Transfer Militarism
Article: 183531
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;

Risk-Transfer Militarism and the Legitimacy of War after Iraq

By Martin Shaw, Foreign Policy in Focus, 1 July 2004

A renaissance of warfare is one of the most striking features of the early twenty-first century. War, it seems, is not the prerogative of international criminals, but the first resort of the righteous. After September 11, 2001, it was widely believed that might could indeed enforce right: President George W. Bush was quick to proclaim his response to the terrorist massacre a “war” rather than a law-enforcement operation. Indeed the Global War on Terrorism (GWoT) quickly became an overarching framework for all politics and any military action, in the eyes of its supporters. And initially, at least, it had widespread support: as Polly Toynbee, one of Britain's foremost liberal commentators, put it during the campaign in Afghanistan, “’bombing works.” The confidence in this position, especially but not only in the United States, involves a striking reversal of the pacifistic sentiments that largely prevailed in Western democracies during much of the last century. It is a veritable relegitimation of war. And yet after the Iraq War of 2003, this confidence has been weakened and some of the support for the GWoT has slipped away: most obviously because of the thinness of its manifest rationale, Saddam Hussein's “weapons of mass destruction”; but also, this paper will argue, because of the contradictions of the new Western way of war, which I characterize as one of risk-transfer.