UK abandons 'war on terror' phrase

Cabinet minister expected to formally announce end of phrase's usage by Britain.

    Benn will say that the phrase 'war on terror' gives legitimacy to small radical organisations [EPA]

    The phrase "war on terror" was popularised by George Bush, the US president, after the September 11 attacks.

     

    'Shared identity'

     

    Benn is expected to say that a variety of minority radical groups have gained exposure by sharing a particular identity with similar organisations.

     

    "What these groups want is to force their individual and narrow values on others without dialogue, without debate, through violence"

    Hilary Benn, Britain's international development secretary

    "It is the vast majority of the people in the world - of all nationalities and faiths - against a small number of loose, shifting and disparate groups who have relatively little in common apart from their identification with others who share their distorted view of the world and their idea of being part of something bigger.

     

    "What these groups want is to force their individual and narrow values on others without dialogue, without debate, through violence. And by letting them feel part of something bigger, we give them strength."

     

    An official spokesman for Tony Blair, Britain's prime minister, said he was unsure when Blair had last used the phrase.

     

    "We all use our own phraseology, and we talk about terrorism, we talk about the fight against terrorism, but we also talk about trying to find political solutions to political problems," he said on condition of anonymity.

     

    Benn is also expected to call on the US to use the "soft power" of values and ideas as well as military strength to defeat extremist groups.

     

    His speech is partly an appeal to Labour party members, who are largely opposed to the war in Iraq and Blair's close relationship with Bush.

     

    Benn is widely expected to become Labour's deputy leader in a party election after Blair steps down as prime minister later this year.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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