Psycho-linguistic warfare and Terrorism: the use of ‘BUT’



First year students of symbolic logic are introduced to the propositional connectives and, if, or, but then. Recent ‘debates’ and controversy concerning the terrorist attacks on the United States have highlighted “But”.

‘Debate’ and ‘discussions’ critical of the United States, commonly claim… ‘The trade centre bombing (note that the attack on the Pentagon is rarely referred to) was terrible… but’.

  • but implies that the terrorist attacks were not an intrinsically evil act of declared or undeclared war
  • but dismisses the uniqueness and human dimension of the terrorist attacks
  • but insists that the act should be seen in ‘context’ of alleged failures of US policy, especially US support of Israel
  • but is a counter claim to defining or redefining the reality of the terrorist attack and is an invitation to critique or dismiss the past, present and future policy of US government
  • but is a relativist position (the attacks were insignificant in comparison to the alleged adverse effects of American foreign policy)
  • but alleges the terrorists were ‘driven’ to desperation by US policies
  • but implies that the terrorists represent the dispossessed, marginal and wretched of the earth (this is not the case; the terrorists were predominantly from upper class/high status backgrounds)
  • but argues US action against Bin Laden and the AQ networks in Afghanistan will lead to the loss of ‘innocent lives’; overlooking that over 5 000 American and other nationalities, were murdered in New York and the Pentagon and that the US President and White House was a  terrorist target
  • but is a form of sadistic identification with the aggressor.

The advocates of the ‘but’ case are predictably, Muslim fundamentalist spokesmen; liberals, pacifists, leftists, anti-US groupings, anti globalist protestors, PLO spokesmen, journalists, assorted terrorist ‘experts, and international affairs commentators’. ‘But’ is a function of anti-Americanism and it is in the context of psycho linguistic warfare devised by agents of propagandists in the East, and wittingly or unwittingly, replayed in the West. The first casualty of war is not truth, but language.

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