Dette er hva man må kalle politisk viktig. Det britiske utenriksdepartement gir beskjed til diplomater og utestasjoner om å droppe uttrykket «war on terror», fordi det kan virke polariserende. USA har ingen planer om å endre språkbruken.
Cabinet ministers have been told by the Foreign Office to drop the phrase ‘war on terror’ and other terms seen as liable to anger British Muslims and increase tensions more broadly in the Islamic world.
The shift marks a turning point in British political thinking about the strategy against extremism and underlines the growing gulf between the British and American approaches to the continuing problem of radical Islamic militancy. It comes amid increasingly evident disagreements between President George Bush and Tony Blair over policy in the Middle East.
Experts have welcomed the move away from one of the phrases that has most defined the debate on Islamic extremism, but called it ‘belated’.
‘It’s about time,’ said Garry Hindle, terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London. ‘Military terminology is completely counter-productive, merely contributing to isolating communities. This is a very positive move.’
A Foreign Office spokesman said the government wanted to ‘avoid reinforcing and giving succour to the terrorists’ narrative by using language that, taken out of context, could be counter-productive’. The same message has been sent to British diplomats and official spokespeople around the world.
‘We tend to emphasise upholding shared values as a means to counter terrorists,’ he added.
Many senior British politicians and counter-terrorism specialists have always been uneasy with the term ‘the war on terror’, coined by the White House in the week following the 9/11 attacks, arguing that the term risked inflaming opinions worldwide. Other critics said that it was too ‘military’ and did not adequately describe the nature of the diverse efforts made to counter the new threat.